Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Disturbing Facts (3) Fake News

Fake News

Where do these magazines get these stories from?


They pick their way through local newspaper stories and reports from around the world, looking specifically for stories of horrific killings by males. against women or children.  It doesn't matter if the story is an old one - these magazines are not newspapers.

Women's magazine Tale a Break
pays up to £2,000 for a story. 
They may listen to you,
but they'll be the ones to decide
what goes in your story

If the see a story in a local paper about violence inflicted by men on women, they contact the victim and offer them money to allow them to write it again and publish it.

They also offer hard cash on their websites for other such stories.  

And sometimes, the person who actually sells their story to these magazines discovered to their horror that the magazine will put their own spin on the story, depicting their loved ones in quite a different way.   The social network NetMums.co.uk carried this cry for help from one such exploited person who submitted their story to one of these national magazines (from April 2011) only to see a completely different story published that the one they submitted.  

She described it as "a negative, horrible, twisted, altered, nasty article (they) plastered about me. They even printed things that weren't said!  Nothing in the article was accurate!" 


She added.. "The magazine tricked me! they twisted the story and printed the total opposite and used pictures of my children! I didn't take a penny from them. How can they get away with doing this?"   She refused any payment for her story. 


See here for more information on this story.



"Chat Magazine" faked a murder photo.

All these chat magazines claim that their stories and accompanying photos are "100% True" and "Real-Life".  The Press Complaints Commission didn't agree when it said that Chat magazine breached the code of practice twice after staging a photograph of a murder victim, which you can read here.  

In 2007, Chat Magazine had carried a photo claiming it was a woman's corpse wrapped up in black bin liners. This turned out to be faked. The victim’s step-father complained to the commission saying the photo "had caused considerable distress to the family" and adding that "one family member had believed that it was actually the victim."

The commission was also concerned that the fake photo was published close to the anniversary of the victim’s death showing "a total disregard for the family of the dead woman" by the magazine.  It was found in breach of clause 5 (intrusion into grief and shock) of the code.



More trouble with Press Complaints Commission for "That's Life".


That's Life - Make Money off a Murder

  • In April 2013, "That’s Life" was censured by Ipso’s predecessor, the Press Complaints Commission, for breaching the code by paying the sister of a murderer for her story, ruling that she had directly benefited from her brother’s crime.  iMediaEthics covered that ruling, which found that "That’s Life" essentially let the family make money off of a murder.  More here.


That's Life - "Misinterpret" a story

  • That’s Life, published by Bauer Publishing and describes itself as “Britain’s leading real-life magazine, publishing “100% real life stories” has been censured by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) for running a story that turned out to be anything but real. 
  • The Guardian‘s Roy Greenslade noted that "That’s Life" got in trouble with the Press Complaints Commission. In October 2014, That’s Life carried an article under the byline of Leanne Owens headlined “I’d rather die than kill my baby.”  This turned out to be a misrepresentation of the true events  Leanne Owens complained and they were forced to print an apology.


That's Life - Discriminate against physical condition of cancer patient.

  • A woman complained that a real life story about her husband's fight against cancer contained inaccuracies and discriminated against his physical condition.  The complaint was resolved when the magazine sent a private letter of apology to the complainant and her husband, marked its internal records with the points raised as part of the complaint and made clear that the story would not be reproduced.  Read the PPC report here.


Chat Magazine - "..not the view shared by our family, or our close friends"


  • A close friend of a murder victim featured in one of Chat's stories, complained on their behalf that the story about the murder of the mother and her son, saying it was an "inaccurate representation of the true circumstances".
  • The complaint was resolved when the magazine agreed to publish a letter from the complainant and the family with the following wording: 
  • We wish to express how strongly my family and our close friends feel about a story published in Chat magazine issue 11 dated 23 March 2006 headlined Shattered. We would like to point out that the story you printed was one person's view of a terrible tragedy and is not the view shared by our family, or our close friends. We wish to be allowed to grieve in private & put closure on this terrible event.
  • More information here.


Chat Magazine - Photos affected the children

  • Chat Mag wrote a salacious article headlined "Sex, Lies and Corner Caffs" and published it on December 23 1998 along with photos of the family's children.  The mother complained that using the photograph of her children was in breach of the rules.  
  • The article detailed the breakdown of the marriage of the complainant's parents-in-law from her mother-in-law's point of view. The photograph showed the children with their grandfather and even though it was two years old the complainant said that her children were still clearly identifiable. The complainant had not given permission for the photograph to be published and her nine year old daughter had been embarrassed by remarks made at her school.  The complaint was upheld.

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