Readers may remember the above post, regarding the Sunday Mirror headline from September "Two Coronation Street Stars investigated over 'four in a bed romp"
Not the sort of story you envisage from this headline, when you consider that this is concerning two girls aged between ten and twelve. How the hell this can a paper justify describing girls of this age "romping" with adults?
Unfortunately it will come as no surprise really, that my complaints went nowhere. Rather than state the bleeding obvious as to why this AVP headline is completely inappropriate, I thought I would share the reasons that the PCC have arrived at as to why no editorial code has been breeched.
"The complainant considered that the newspaper had breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice. The newspaper had reported that two actors had been accused of engaging in sexual activity with two underage girls. The complainant was concerned that the use of the term “four-in-a-bed romp” in the headline gave the misleading impression that there had been mutual consent between all individuals allegedly involved. "
With the limited reasons that one can complain to them, you have to select a clause that highlights the complaint. The PCC does not judge "personal opinions", only the actual facts of the story. Inevitably in a case like this, clause one is one that I normally use - "inaccuracy".
"While the Commission noted the complainant’s concern that the headline had trivialised very serious allegations, it had regard for the fact that the text of the article clearly explained the nature of the allegations. The Commission was satisfied that the headline, taken in the context of the article as a whole, had not been significantly misleading. There was no breach of the Code."
Well, what can you say? A bit of a "copy & paste" job that matches many of the other complaints that I have made previously.
No surprise there.
With this type of reasoning, any paper can use any headline, no matter how offensive, trivialising and inaccurate it may be. As long as the article itself is fairly accurate and doesn't "mislead you", it doesn't matter a jot.
Imagine the complaints if the above actually read
But wait, wait just a minute.
Using the reasoning of the PCC, and as long as "the headline, taken in the context of the article as a whole, is not significantly misleading, there is no breach of the Code".
And PCC does not take complaints based on 'personal opinions' or 'personal offense'.
Not much you can do.
One of the reasons I don't really bother that much with PCC, Ofcom or similar, although I did hope this time, that this would have been a bit different. There is no system to make complaints like this - one just has to hope that one the media opens their eyes a bit and realises the offensive way that they can report on issues like this. I know, I know, fat chance of that - I have pages of replies from them on various things, and the majority are full of lame excuses.
One day though ... one day.... until then, we keep going.