A thorough review of the hottest stories covered by the Guardian during 2011, by correspondent Polly Curtis, Dec 28, noted the following:
The News International phone-hacking scandal dominated headlines this year, prompting numerous resignations and the closure of News of the World, 8,260 articles (including 5,820 articles on News of the World, 3,891 articles on Rupert Murdoch, 2,381 articles on Andy Coulson, 2,365 articles on Rebekah Brooks and 1,247 articles on the Leveson Inquiry)
Curtis also included the following sensational Guardian cover story on the NotW scandal (published on July 5) to further highlight the paper’s journalistic prowess.
Curiously omitted by Curtis, however, is the fact that the most sensational details of this cover story were ultimately retracted after police testimony and additional revelations in the Leveson Inquiry contradicted the Guardian’s wildest claim: that voice-mail messages were deleted by News of the World journalists in the first few days after Milly’s disappearance, giving Milly’s family false hope.
Here’s the Guardian’s ‘Corrections and clarifications‘ section 8 days ago:
On 13 December the following clarification was published: “An article about the investigation into the abduction and death of Milly Dowler (News of the World hacked Milly Dowler’s phone during police hunt, 5 July, page 1) stated that voicemail ‘messages were deleted by [News of the World] journalists in the first few days after Milly’s disappearance in order to free up space for more messages. As a result friends and relatives of Milly concluded wrongly that she might still be alive.’ Since this story was published new evidence – as reported in the Guardian of 10 December – has led the Metropolitan police to believe that this was unlikely to have been correct and that while the News of the World hacked Milly Dowler’s phone the newspaper is unlikely to have been responsible for the deletion of a set of voicemails from the phone that caused her parents to have false hopes that she was alive, according to a Metropolitan police statement made to the Leveson inquiry on 12 December.” To make this clear we have – since that item appeared on 13 December – appended a footnote to the following 37 stories below that contain either the error or a reference to it.
Missing Milly Dowler’s voicemail was hacked by News of the World, 4 July
Milly Dowler phone hacking: Family shocked by NoW revelations, 4 July
Politics live blog, 5 July
Rebekah Brooks: ‘It’s inconceivable I knew of Milly Dowler phone hacking’, 5 July
Miliband says Brooks must consider her position over phone hacking, 5 July
Milly Dowler phone hacking pressures News of the World to come clean, 5 July
News International: Hacking away at the truth, 5 July
News of the World phone hacking: Police review all child abduction cases, 5 July
Warm glow of BSkyB deal subsides as Brooks feels chill of wind reality, 6 July
News of the World: Murdoch takes the initiative, but will it end the crisis?, 7 July
Over more than three decades, no one dared question the perversion of politics by and for Rupert Murdoch, 10 July
Milly Dowler’s family call for Rebekah Brooks to resign, 11 July
News Corp BskyB U-turn a victory for the public, says Dowler family lawyer, 13 July
Rupert Murdoch gives up BskyB takeover bid, 14 July
Phone hacking fall out: ten days that shook Britain, 15 July
Rupert Murdoch apology to Milly Dowler family was sincere, says lawyer, 15 July
News Corp must now face greater scrutiny in the US, 20 July
Murdochs in line for multimillion dollar bonuses despite phone-hacking crisis, 26 July
News of the World targeted phone of Sarah Payne’s mother, 28 July
Sunday Times bans use of subterfuge, 5 August
Milly Dowler phone hackers ‘used more than one voicemail’, 20 August
Phone hacking: Milly Dowler’s family offered £2m-plus settlement, 19 September
News International offers Milly Dowler’s family £3m settlement, 20 September
Milly Dowler’s family urges Cameron to rethink legal reforms, 22 September
Phone hacking: NI confirms £2m for Dowlers and £1m charity donation, 21 October
Leveson inquiry: Dowlers believe phone hacking intruded into ‘private grief’, 16 November
Leveson inquiry told hacking of Milly Dowler’s phone ‘despicable’, 16 November
Leveson inquiry: Hugh Grant and Dowlers to give evidence, 18 November
Phone hacking: Steve Coogan compares NI to a ‘protection racket’, 18 November
Milly Dowler’s parents to testify at Leveson inquiry, 20 November
Leveson inquiry into phone hacking: first witnesses – profiles, 21 November
Leveson inquiry: phone hacking ‘made Dowlers think Milly was alive’, 21 November
News blog: Leveson inquiry: Hugh Grant and the Dowlers give evidence, 21 November
Hugh Grant accuses Mail on Sunday of phone hacking, 21 November
Phone-hacking victims take chance to tell their own story, 22 November
The Leveson inquiry witnesses are collateral damage, 27 November
Leveson inquiry: why journalists should cry – and visit the prayer room, 28 November
The following Press Association articles on the Guardian’s website have also been footnoted:
Milly Dowler phone hacking claim, 4 July
Dowlers ‘suing paper over hacking’, 5 July
Charity to benefit from Dowler deal, 20 September
Dowlers’ ‘euphoria’ over voicemails, 16 November
Dowlers to give evidence to inquiry, 20 November
Milly’s parents attend press probe, 21 November
Grant’s suspicions over burglary, 21 November
Milly’s parents attend press probe, 21 November
Dowlers to give evidence to inquiry, 21 November
Milly phone hack ‘gave false hope’, 21 November
Hugh Grant: Non-Murdoch tabloid hacked me in 2007, 22 November
So, if you include the Press Association reports, a total of 48 stories had to be amended to reflect the glaring Guardian error.
Of course, none of this should come as a surprise to CiF Watch readers.
The phone hacking story retraction is classic Guardian.
A furious rush to judgement.
A sensational headline and narrative, to impute maximum guilt to the accused, without arduously attempting to corroborate the claim.
Seemingly remorseless even after all but being forced to revise a story or retract an allegation in light of contradictory evidence.
You don’t have to be a blog dedicated to exposing antisemitism, and the assault on Israel’s legitimacy, at the Guardian to acknowledge the institution’s shoddy and ethically irresponsible journalism.