Mail’s attempt to blame teachers for girl’s death backfires [updated]


2:54 pm - July 1st 2011

by Sunny Hundal    


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The Daily Mail ran this appalling story (safe link) today on its website…

The disgusting attempt to blame teachers was also followed up in the Daily Telegraph later.

But the Mail’s attempt backfired when even its website readers heavily criticised the paper for the story.

The top rated comments on the article were:

Rest in peace, Sophie Howard.
(via @jonathanhaynes)

Update:
The Daily Mail have now changed their headline to: ‘Girl, 13, crushed to death by a falling branch as she sat on park bench on the day her teachers went out on strike‘.

It seems the story was distributed by local press agency News Team International, and is now carried by other outlets including the BBC and Daily Mirror.

But it may not have come with that inflammatory headline.

Sophie’s parents themselves spoke to local media and said:

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our friends and family for their support at this difficult time. Sophie has a twin brother who is also suffering greatly.

Our beloved daughter’s death was a tragic incident, which occurred only 24 hours ago, and we do not want it to be connected to any other events.

The Daily Mail ignored any statements by the parents.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Story Filed Under: News

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Reader comments


1. Foncenace

Nice to know that the hack, Mr. Reporter, dared to put his real name on it, eh?

2. Black Guardian

Hurrah for the Blackshirts!

And it was the council’s fault too!

You have to hand it to the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, if they go for the smear they do it properly.

I bet there were no council workers in It’s A Wonderful Life … oh wait a minute, there was …

What were you expecting? Blame it on Government cuts? It’s the Daily Hitler for heaven’s sake. It’s what they do.

5. the a&e charge nurse

I didn’t realise teh Fail was a keen exponent of ‘chaos theory’?
It is well known a small change at one place in a nonlinear system can result in large differences to a later state. For example, the presence or absence of a butterfly flapping its wings could lead to creation or absence of a hurricane.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect

Either that or the branch was badly weakened by the weight of a gold plated pension?

@5 – You could say that, seems a bit tasteless though as this article is criticising the mail for doing what you have just done.

Perhaps when one of your children has been killed you can come here and make political jokes about that as well.

7. the a&e charge nurse

[6] I am criticising the Mail for the use of a non-sequitur (strike/accident) in it’s long running propaganda war against the unions.
My attempt to parody the Mail’s unique brand of bizarre logic (branch/gold plated pension) has been interpreted by you as an attack on the family – that was not my intention at all.

8. Chaise Guevara

Wow. Pricks, seriously.

I’m sure all those right wing , brown shirts who have been attacking Hari and giving pompous lectures about accuracy in journalism will be right on this story and condemning the Mail……..

Oh wait…..

10. Chaise Guevara

@ 9

There’s a difference, to be fair. Hari’s accused of bending facts, whereas the Mail have proved themselves guilty of being absolute wankers.

Oh, and they also bend facts of course.

In Sutton, three people, including two teachers, were struck by lightning on Tuesday, just two days before the strike:
http://www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/local/topstories/9115539.UPDATE__Three_people_hit_by_lightning_in_storm/

Surely this must have been a supernatural warning or a diabolic intervention.

12. Cynical/Realist?

And if in future the councils spend loads of money chopping branches off every time one looks a touch iffy the bloody Mail will be the first to call it out as ‘elfensafety gone mad.

13. Mark Darlow

An absolute disgrace, even by the Daily Mail’s standards.

Given that the variant of poplar native to our part of the world is the Populus nigra – Black Poplar – I’m surprised they didn’t blame it’s colour too.

15. Martin Guest

I am sure the journalists involved in this disgusting episode wouldn’t have published it had they been sober.

They’ve rowed back a little bit and removed the word “because” from the headline

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2010193/Teachers-strike-Sophie-Howard-13-killed-falling-branch-school-closed.html#ixzz1QromIxST

So that’s alright then

Johann Hari’s journalistic problems pale into insignificance beside this. Harri was pilloried with a hashtrag #interviewedbyhari on Twitter.

I am trying to get one going called #Mailsays which pillories the Mail in the same way. They ought to suffer the same treatment. Please join in…

18. Chaise Guevara

@ 17

I still don’t know exactly how hashtags work. But there are multiple websites set up with the express intention of (accurately) trashing the Daily Mail. Which pretty much proves that all is as it should be and that humans are cooler than you might think.

19. Pete Lee

No morals when it supported the Third Reich, no morals when it initiallly backed killers of Stephen Lawrence, no morals now.

It is a putrid organ of the nastiest side of the nasty party and once again it has shown itself to be a disgrace.

20. ToyChicken

Good job this didn’t happen on the day of the royal wedding, we all were given the day off… would the DM have run with “wills and Kate kill girl with branch?”

21. blackwillow1

So the Daily Mail expressed in print, what many on the right said in private. I even heard one individual make the statement, just after the story aired on BBCNews, “The unions will probably blame the government, ‘cos of the cuts”, this person, I use the term loosely, is typical of the support for the coalition among the working class. Resentful of anyone on benefits, racist, homophobic and very much anti-union. I wonder who they would blame, if the child had been from an immigrant background, or, if the schools were open and the child was playing truant. No doubt it would run something like,’IF THE PARENTS HAD STAYED IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY THE CHILD WOULD BE ALIVE.’ Or for the truanting child,’FECKLESS PARENTS SHOULD BE CHARGED WITH NEGLECT’. It is possible to predict any Daily Mail response to any story you can think of, simply aim for the most tenuous link, to the most negative aspect of a story and you can create a headline they would be proud of. Has Cameron, or any of his mob condemned the Mail? Or would it be asking too much, expecting them to defend the unions, even though the Mail are clearly devoid of any moral defence for their actions?

22. Tom (iow)

Presumably they will now back schools that cancel trips to the park, because of the risk of falling branches?


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Daily Mail's attempt to blame teachers for girl's death backfires http://bit.ly/imdqSF

  2. Elrik Merlin

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  3. John West

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  4. Sarah Radcliffe

    So shameful RT @libcon Daily Mail's attempt to blame teachers for girl's death backfires http://t.co/pM9Ah9H

  5. Ian Adamson

    @Bod8509 (further to my last tweet, turns out a LOT of people are sticking up for what's right… http://t.co/KWFf0zF )

  6. Laurie Stanley

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  7. Tim Sinister

    Even DM readers aren't accepting this horrible headline (via @sunny_hundal, cheers) http://t.co/AAqFHZg

  8. RottenBoroughs

    #sackdacre re Mail tries to blame srikers for girl's death http://t.co/dmRcJLx @sunny_hundal

  9. Dave Taylor

    Daily Mail tries to blame teachers for a young girl's death, but it backfires with reader http://bit.ly/imdqSF

  10. Susan Asquith

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  11. RottenBoroughs

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  12. Thoughtcat

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  13. sunny hundal

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  14. Lorna Cooper

    RT @sunny_hundal: Daily Mail tries to blame teachers for a young girl's death, but it backfires with reader http://bit.ly/imdqSF | It's low

  15. McGaucho

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  17. Nemesis Republic

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  20. Al Robertson

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  21. Ashraf Choudhury

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  22. imanol galfarsoro

    Please, please please stop reading the Daily Mail. I'm talking mostly to you, Mum. http://bit.ly/lJNluf

  23. Bob Moss

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  24. Miss Browne

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  25. Marc Bowker

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  26. Lynn Hancock

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  27. Rebekah Hah

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  28. Joe Jordan

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  29. Chris McKeown

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  30. Gary Hughes

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  31. Daniel Gray

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  32. Bob Chicken

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  33. Bonde de Bonde

    Really just when you think the Daily Mail can sink no lower > http://bit.ly/lJNluf (NOT a link to mail online!)

  34. Emily Birkinshaw

    Please, please please stop reading the Daily Mail. I'm talking mostly to you, Mum. http://bit.ly/lJNluf

  35. Jess

    What the holy motherfucker was she doing sitting under a tree anyway? http://bit.ly/imdqSF

  36. matthew jordan

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  37. Hun Grrr (Rory J)

    Really just when you think the Daily Mail can sink no lower > http://bit.ly/lJNluf (NOT a link to mail online!)

  38. SW Surrey Lib Dems

    Daily Mail tries to blame teachers for girl's accidental death, but it backfires with readers http://bit.ly/imdqSF (fixed)

  39. Dan Jones

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  40. Gabriel

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  41. Shamem Ahmed

    Daily Mail tries to blame teachers for girl's accidental death, but it backfires with readers http://bit.ly/imdqSF (fixed)

  42. Derek Bryant

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  43. Marc Bowker

    @charltonbrooker @Ogilvie75 And the Daily Mail, but readers condemned it! http://bit.ly/imdqSF

  44. Simon

    Alltså fy fan. Denna Daily Mail-rubrik. http://bit.ly/lJNluf

  45. Nick Ryan

    Daily Mail's attempt to blame teachers for girl's death backfires http://bit.ly/imdqSF

  46. Dominic Linley

    Daily Mail tries to blame teachers for girl's accidental death, but it backfires with readers http://bit.ly/imdqSF (fixed)

  47. Nick Efford

    Daily Mail's attempt to blame teachers for girl's death backfires http://bit.ly/imdqSF

  48. Max Colson

    Daily Mail tries to blame teachers for girl's accidental death, but it backfires with readers http://bit.ly/imdqSF (fixed)

  49. Adam Armstrong

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  50. TaraJayne

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  51. Attitude Magazine

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  52. DJ KillaQueen

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  53. Attitude Magazine

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  54. Syniq

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  55. Joe

    #sackdacre re Mail tries to blame strikers for girl's death http://t.co/dmRcJLx @sunny_hundal

  56. Liberal Conspiracy

    Story update: girls' parents said they didn't want her death connected to other events, but Mail ignores it http://bit.ly/imdqSF

  57. 5 Chinese Crackers

    Story update: girls' parents said they didn't want her death connected to other events, but Mail ignores it http://bit.ly/imdqSF

  58. Broken OfBritain

    Story update: girls' parents said they didn't want her death connected to other events, but Mail ignores it http://bit.ly/imdqSF

  59. Broken OfBritain

    Daily Mail’s attempt to blame teachers for girl’s death backfires | Liberal Conspiracy http://fb.me/16tr9uvr0

  60. Rocki Stone

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  61. William Powell

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  62. SomeRandomBint

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  63. Ross Chmiel

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  64. Anthony Painter

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  65. Patrick Osgood

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  66. Gareth Millward

    RT @brokenofbritain: Daily Mail’s attempt to blame teachers for girl’s death backfires | Liberal Conspiracy http://fb.me/16tr9uvr0

  67. Andrew Parrington

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  68. Lee

    RT @sunny_hundal: Daily Mail tries to blame teachers for a young girl's death, but it backfires with reader http://bit.ly/imdqSF | It's low

  69. Nick Mellish

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  70. Susspa

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  71. Stewart Mackenzie

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  72. Daniel

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  73. Tom J Nowell

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  74. Daniel Sellers

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  75. Julius Metson Scott

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  76. Julius Metson Scott

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  77. Julius Metson Scott

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  78. Clive Burgess

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  79. Clive Burgess

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  80. Clive Burgess

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  81. Larry Shulman

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  82. Larry Shulman

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  83. Lorna Cooper

    RT @spliggle: What was the original headline? Sorry – been out the loop | Original http://bit.ly/lJNluf Amended http://bit.ly/jrmm83

  84. David Davies

    Mail’s attempt to blame teachers for girl’s death backfires ~ http://t.co/7HRQNl7

  85. Patrick Renner

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  86. Daniella Beattie

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  87. Emma Andrews

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  88. Spir.Sotiropoulou

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  89. Phil Beardmore

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  90. Sean St John James

    Mail’s attempt to blame teachers for girl’s death backfires [updated] | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Q0xdojM via @libcon

  91. Diane Hain

    Story update: girls' parents said they didn't want her death connected to other events, but Mail ignores it http://bit.ly/imdqSF

  92. Magnus McMagnusson

    The Mail really are beneath contempt. RT @libcon: Daily Mail's attempt to blame teachers for girl's death backfires http://bit.ly/imdqSF

  93. steve turner

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  94. Diane Hain

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  95. Lee Winstanley

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  96. Sj Maskell

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  97. Keira Evans-Determan

    Daily Mail’s attempt to blame teachers for girl’s death backfires (Liberal Conspiracy): Source : Liberal Conspir… http://bit.ly/j6MdbO

  98. Richard Stevens

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  99. Brixtonite

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  100. Natacha Kennedy

    Tories getting desperate; Mail tries to blame girl's death on strike http://bit.ly/lJNluf #Mailsays

  101. Danny James

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  102. KATE BUTLER

    Story update: girls' parents said they didn't want her death connected to other events, but Mail ignores it http://bit.ly/imdqSF

  103. Matt Britland

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  104. John Toolan

    Story update: girls' parents said they didn't want her death connected to other events, but Mail ignores it http://bit.ly/imdqSF

  105. Matt Britland

    @mailwatch @StopDailyMail http://t.co/CxbAwpm

  106. Mike Wozowski

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  107. Tom Abell

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  108. malcolm

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  109. Clare Jordan

    RT @libcon: Mail's attempt to blame teachers for girl's death backfires [updated] http://t.co/G6GfzSG

  110. Drew Kerr

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  111. Haydn Russell

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  112. PumpkinSpider

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  113. Daily Mail Watch

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  114. Natalie Thurgood

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  115. Robert Droy

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  116. Andy Bean

    RT @sunny_hundal: Daily Mail tries to blame teachers for girl's accidental death, but it backfires with readers http://bit.ly/imdqSF (fixed)

  117. sunny hundal

    @bengoldacre headline was worse earlier. The comments are good tho http://t.co/FcLCC34

  118. Andy Hicks

    Mail’s attempt to blame teachers for girl’s death backfires [updated] | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/E7HLTA9 via @libcon daily fail indeed

  119. Melanie RJo

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  120. Mike Hanson

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  121. Shan Kilby

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  122. Top Politics Tweets

    Daily Mail's attempt to blame teachers for girl's death backfires http://bit.ly/imdqSF

  123. Holly

    People using 'Daily Fail' to avoid the DM trending re: that awful headdline http://bit.ly/mhlq62

  124. Claire

    RT @libcon: Mail's attempt to blame teachers for girl's death backfires [updated] http://t.co/zONj0I1

  125. Stuart Smith

    Daily Mails ludicrous story about a school girls death due to teacher strikes http://t.co/1DkvcC4

  126. nobby-Lobby

    Mail’s attempt to blame teachers for girl’s death backfires [updated] | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/E7HLTA9 via @libcon daily fail indeed

  127. Praterstrasse

    Mail’s attempt to blame teachers for girl’s death backfires [updated] | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/E7HLTA9 via @libcon daily fail indeed

  128. amanda bentham

    Daily Mails ludicrous story about a school girls death due to teacher strikes http://t.co/1DkvcC4

  129. Johnny Thunder

    Mail’s attempt to blame teachers for girl’s death backfires [updated] | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/E7HLTA9 via @libcon daily fail indeed

  130. Alex Tomlinson

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  131. jamie pritchard

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  132. Eamon Walsh

    Daily Mail tries to blame teachers for girl's accidental death, but it backfires with readers http://bit.ly/imdqSF (fixed)

  133. Anna Chatters

    Mail’s attempt to blame teachers for girl’s death backfires [updated] | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/E7HLTA9 via @libcon daily fail indeed

  134. Rocki Stone

    Mail’s attempt to blame teachers for girl’s death backfires [updated] | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/E7HLTA9 via @libcon daily fail indeed

  135. Dafydd Young

    Mail’s attempt to blame teachers for girl’s death backfires [updated] | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/E7HLTA9 via @libcon daily fail indeed

  136. Christy Tuohy

    Daily Mail's attempt to blame teachers for girl's death backfires http://bit.ly/imdqSF

  137. Ben Gilbert

    Mail’s attempt to blame teachers for girl’s death backfires [updated] | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/qNY3wnE via @libcon

  138. Nick Mellish

    @katemonster89 Maybe use this link: http://bit.ly/imdqSF Tells the story, but doesn't give them hits.

  139. Kate Hinksman

    @katemonster89 Maybe use this link: http://bit.ly/imdqSF Tells the story, but doesn't give them hits.

  140. Sarah McLaughlin

    Mail’s attempt to blame teachers for girl’s death backfires [updated] | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/E7HLTA9 via @libcon daily fail indeed

  141. Chris Stanworth

    @tombcannon The original headline said it was because her teachers were on strike! http://t.co/iWI9OSH

  142. Tim Coyle

    Daily Mail's attempt to blame teachers for girl's death backfires http://bit.ly/imdqSF

  143. ross ofcourse

    "Even the Daily Mail's website readers criticised the paper" : http://j.mp/kRKekm

  144. consumer

    http://t.co/xRHUAhG @shngrdnr did you see this? Pretty shocking even by the #dailymail #fail standards.

  145. Mhairi McAlpine

    Mail’s attempt to blame teachers for girl’s death backfires [updated] | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/c5R2fNQ via @libcon

  146. Panda

    Story update: girls' parents said they didn't want her death connected to other events, but Mail ignores it http://bit.ly/imdqSF

  147. Viridis Lumen

    Mail’s attempt to blame teachers for girl’s death backfires [updated] | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/iqfr5d7 via @libcon

  148. Matt Tancock

    *sigh* this passes for journalism. I'd be ashamed: Mail’s attempt to blame teachers for girl’s death backfires http://bit.ly/ipnz45

  149. Sylvia P

    "Even the Daily Mail's website readers criticised the paper" : http://j.mp/kRKekm

  150. Craig Thornton

    Mail’s attempt to blame teachers for girl’s death backfires [updated] | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/sks6oDp via @libcon

  151. Jake Archibald

    That Daily Mail headline has since been edited, it was originally even worse http://t.co/MmIdhB3

  152. Ben Marvell

    “@jaffathecake: That Daily Mail headline has since been edited, it was originally even worse http://t.co/HUvcFZk” my god.

  153. Simon Brunning

    “@jaffathecake: That Daily Mail headline has since been edited, it was originally even worse http://t.co/HUvcFZk” my god.

  154. Muig

    Daily Mail seeks to capitalise on death of child: http://t.co/TkzNP1M via @libcon

  155. Simon Cox

    Mail’s attempt to blame teachers for girl’s death backfires [updated] | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/vdEHrjj via @libcon

  156. Pam Field

    RT @libcon: Mail's attempt to blame teachers for girl's death backfires [updated] http://t.co/sphoRXh

  157. Clive

    Mail’s attempt to blame teachers for girl’s death backfires http://t.co/TCggmZC via @libcon appalling #DailyMail

  158. Stephen Williams

    RT @libcon: Mail's attempt to blame teachers for girl's death backfires [updated] http://t.co/sphoRXh

  159. Jamie Redhead

    Mail’s attempt to blame teachers for girl’s death backfires [updated] | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Jv67RIM via @libcon

  160. Sam Newman

    “@jaffathecake: That Daily Mail headline has since been edited, it was originally even worse http://t.co/HUvcFZk” my god.

  161. Jon Purdom/Paco Saez

    Liberal Conspiracy article on how the Daily Mail chose to use a young girl's death to attack trade unions. Email the PCC http://t.co/JSn6d7A

  162. In which I am… « Postcards from the Edge (of the West Country)

    […] rapidly losing all faith in newspapers, what with obnoxious Daily Mail headlines, phone hacking allegations and insensitive comments from journos on […]

  163. Craig Wood

    http://t.co/1krENsj Daily Mail says accidental death the fault of strikes, it's pointed out that the DM are SCUM, then they revise.

  164. Mark Connor

    @_Lilykins http://t.co/V45Cow5 How can you say this is okay?

  165. Matt Cavanagh

    Remember Mail's "girl killed by falling branch due to strikes"? http://t.co/8m05RLrz Now Mail has "boy injured in explosion due to strikes".

  166. Matt Cavanagh

    Remember Mail's "girl killed by falling branch due to strikes"? http://t.co/8m05RLrz Now Mail has "boy injured in explosion due to strikes".

  167. Matt Cavanagh

    Remember Mail's "girl killed by falling branch due to strikes"? http://t.co/8m05RLrz Now Mail has "boy injured in explosion due to strikes".

  168. Matt Cavanagh

    Remember Mail's "girl killed by falling branch due to strikes"? http://t.co/8m05RLrz Now Mail has "boy injured in explosion due to strikes".

  169. Matt Cavanagh

    Remember Mail's "girl killed by falling branch due to strikes"? http://t.co/8m05RLrz Now Mail has "boy injured in explosion due to strikes".

  170. Matt Cavanagh

    Remember the Mail blaming strikes for girl killed by falling branch? http://t.co/8m05RLrz Now it blames strike for boy injured in explosion.

  171. Matt Cavanagh

    Remember the Mail blaming strikes for girl killed by falling branch? http://t.co/8m05RLrz Now it blames strike for boy injured in explosion.

  172. Matt Cavanagh

    Remember the Mail blaming strikes for girl killed by falling branch? http://t.co/8m05RLrz Now it blames strike for boy injured in explosion.

  173. Matt Cavanagh

    Remember the Mail blaming strikes for girl killed by falling branch? http://t.co/8m05RLrz Now it blames strike for boy injured in explosion.

  174. Rick Muir

    Remember the Mail blaming strikes for girl killed by falling branch? http://t.co/8m05RLrz Now it blames strike for boy injured in explosion.

  175. Daily Mail blames striking teachers for injured student | Liberal Conspiracy

    […] July the Mail tried to blame striking teachers for the death of a girl because a tree branch fell on […]

  176. 2011′s Top 10 Biggest Wankers. | From December to Apathy

    […] and Oswald Mosley. Whilst the Daily Mail has taken some outrageous steps this year such as blaming striking teachers for the fact that a girl tragically died or complaining about nudity on television by showing a blown-up picture of nudity on television […]

  177. An imaginary dog

    @snooplady Sorry – It was teh daily mail http://t.co/pEWNX83N

  178. An imaginary dog

    @GiovanniTorre @Dancing0nFire straight fromteh Murdoch playbook http://t.co/pEWNX83N

  179. An imaginary dog

    @I_enigma @AngelOfAttitude @theheraldsun Sorry folks – that was the Daily Mail – another Rupe rag http://t.co/pEWNX83N

  180. An imaginary dog

    Sorry folks – that wasn't the NOTW that tried to pin a UK death on the striking teachers, it was the Daily Mail. http://t.co/pEWNX83N

  181. An imaginary dog

    @mikestuchbery The Herald Sun's story implied the same. Both took their cues from the Daily Mail. Gutter journalism http://t.co/pEWNX83N

  182. Jonathan

    @matthaig1 @shelleywriter @missradders And if you need to compare things, the Mail has done far worse: http://t.co/6QvjwqNq





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