The most violent country in Europe?

Bus stop outside Lidl in Penge High Street yesterday

"I'd like to think this [printing misleading headlines that bear no relation to the truth of a story] doesn't happen in the Mail - I'm not going to hold my hand on my heart and say it doesn't. It does happen in some areas of the media."
Paul Dacre, 2009

I like Dacre's evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee earlier this year. It neatly exposes the fantasy version of the Daily Mail he has in his head. In this fantasy version there is no churnalism and the Mail is fearlessly enabling the democratic process that would collapse without it, rather than distorting the process by being a negative, vindictive, dishonest puddle of bile. But even with a sanitised fantasy version of the paper in his head, Dacre can't quite bring himself to claim that the paper never prints deliberately misleading headlines to entice readers in and push a distorted view of the world.

This is the sort of thing that Dacre would like to think doesn't occur in the Mail (below the fold):

'The most violent country in Europe: Britain is also worse than South Africa and U.S.'

Woah - more violent than South Africa? That is indeed a serious indictment of how society in the UK has broken down.

Except, buried in the middle of the article is this withdrawal:
But criminologists say crime figures can be affected by many factors, including different criminal justice systems and differences in how crime is reported and measured.

In Britain, an affray is considered a violent crime, while in other countries it will only be logged if a person is physically injured.

There are also degrees of violence. While the UK ranks above South Africa for all violent crime, South Africans suffer more than 20,000 murders each year - compared with Britain's 921 in 2007.
Shorter version: 'Actually, the UK isn't the most violent country in Europe and isn't as violent as the US and South Africa - but we think you're such a bunch of ignorant tools that you'll ignore this bit and go for the headline'.

Nice work, Mr Slack. Why don't you knock off early today?

See also:

'UK is violent crime capital of Europe' - Daily Telegraph, 2 July 2009
'UK: Most violent nation in Europe' - The Sun, 2 July 2009
'Europe’s most violent nation' - The Times, August 19 2007
'Britain the most violent country in western Europe' - Daily Telegraph, 15 October 2003

Dacre also claimed in April that he 'refuted' that the Mail engages in churnalism. I wonder if the Mail in his head isn't vindictive shit.


Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

I hope you can hear my scream from here.

What is it with them making out the UK is a bag of shit? Seriously? What is the point?

Fear sells.

septicisle said...

I can't find the documents behind this anywhere, probably because it seems it was the Tories that distributed them to sympathetic newspapers, as the Telegraph article makes clear. There's nothing on the European Commission site, nothing on Eurostat, and nothing on the Tories' site. How very cosy and how you can't even begin to check the veracity behind it.

MacGuffin said...

Daniel - yes, they love to make the UK seem shit....except when they're telling us that all migrants are coming here because everything is so good.

It's almost like they are trying to have it both ways...

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Who'd have thunk it?

Five Chinese Crackers said...

Hang on - I think the immigrants are supposed to come here only because everything is so good for them. They get everything while the rest of us get nothing and they repay us by turning to crime and that.

PALS said...

Well, UK is one of my dream countries for retirement. It is not a bad country and it has good environment. And everything is in place.

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