After posting an article which claimed that as many as 300,000 illegal immigrants were living in the French city of Saint-Denis, the Daily Mail suffered a brutal take-down thanks to the former director of the Association against Islamophobia in France, Marwan Muhammad. Not only has the article’s author, Andrew Malone, since deleted his Twitter account (@katiba1171) – the Daily Mail has removed the article altogether.
In a 15-point Twitter schooling posted on 4 August, Muhammad picked the Daily Mail’s article to pieces. His first tweet, which has been liked over 29,000 times, reads:
We too in France have tabloids who couldn’t care less about the truth, but I really have to say: you’re in a league of your own. Everything in your paper is wrong.
Hello @MailOnline. I've read your "devastating" article on "illegal migrants in Saint Denis". We too in France have tabloïds who couldn't care less about the truth, but I really have to say: you're in a league of your own. Everything in your paper is wrong. A fact checking: 👇🏽 pic.twitter.com/zWiqlffxsP
— Marwan Muhammad (@_MarwanMuhammad) August 4, 2018
And the quality of journalism in the article is, indeed, quite astonishing.
Here are some of the article’s worst clangers that Muhammad points out:
- The article’s central claim that “as many as 300,000 illegal immigrants” live in Saint-Denis is almost three times greater than the total population of Saint-Denis, which is roughly 110,733.
- Throughout the article, the author confuses the city of ‘Saint-Denis’ with the relatively massive department of ‘Seine-Saint-Denis’, which includes 40 cities. There is no evidence to support a claim that “as many as 300,000 illegal immigrants” live in either.
- The author claims that one Saint Denis resident’s personal items were “clearly stolen from tourists or Parisians”, without providing any evidence whatsoever.
- ‘The Muslims have cancelled Christmas’ argument appears within the article. No further comment is required here.
- French politician Jean-Louis Borloo, founder of the centre-right Union of Democrats and Independents (UDI) party, is falsely described as a “left-winger”. This information could have been quickly found on Wikipedia – a platform that has incidentally banned the Daily Mail as an “unreliable” source.
One Twitter user mocked the story by sharing some recent “terrifying” images from Saint-Denis:
Random snaps from a recent afternoon in St. Denis. Terrifying. pic.twitter.com/QxU4w9GdJe
— HughSykes (@HughSykes) August 4, 2018
And the Stop Funding Hate campaign outed the advertisers attempting to score profits off the hate campaigns of the Daily Mail:
A shocking indictment by @_MarwanMuhammad – and these were the advertisers we identified on the day that the #PowderKegParis article was published, including @VodafoneUK & @LauraAshleyUK: https://t.co/9PU3GIH0fz #StopFundingHate
— Stop Funding Hate (@StopFundingHate) August 4, 2018
Social media is changing the balance of power between the British public & the big media firms that dominate our society. It seems the Daily Mail have taken down their inflammatory & divisive article after @_MarwanMuhammad's point-by-point rebuttal was shared over 12,000 times… https://t.co/7X31w5d0Vo
— Stop Funding Hate (@StopFundingHate) August 5, 2018
Not so funny
While the Daily Mail’s mediocrity is laughable, it reflects a not-so-funny side of the British press that prefers anti-immigrant sensationalism to factual evidence. And despite the inaccuracies, many Daily Mail readers will find their worldview affirmed by the tabloid’s depiction of immigrants.
And this article was far from the exception. In 2015, for example, the Daily Mail published a cartoon that likened immigrants to vermin. This was a tactic of dehumanisation used by the Nazis, who the Mail actually supported in the 1930s.
Given the Daily Mail‘s apparently minimal commitment to journalistic integrity, it is not surprising that the UK written press was ranked the least trusted of 33 European countries in 2016. Online news did not rank much better.
Muhammad’s take-down of the Daily Mail shows us the way to confront the rise of the anti-immigration right – with the truth.
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Featured image via Mikey/Flickr