Ken vs The Mail

July 21st, 2009 § 2 comments

Apparently in March it was reported in the Mail that Ken Livingstone dodged a train fare and avoided a fine.

The PCC (via email)…

Articles published by the newspaper in March concerned an allegation that, despite not having a ticket for a train journey between London and Slough, Mr Livingstone was not asked to pay a penalty fare. This, said the newspaper, contrasted with his ‘zero tolerance’ policy when Mayor of London.

Red Ken complained to the PCC that the Mail misrepresented the situation and should’ve spoke to him to get his side of the story before going to print, as Ken may not have had a ticket for the whole of his journey, but neither did about 10 other passengers. They all paid for the unpaid part of their journey when they got off the train.

The main thrust of Kens’ complaint is that how the story appeared in the Mail was that he received preferential treatment or was a hypocrite (avoiding paying for a train journey whilst having a zero tolerance whist Mayor).

The PCC hasn’t upheld the complaint because…

…the Commission did not agree that the newspaper should have obtained Mr Livingstone’s comments because it was clear that the thrust of the story was true (and had been witnessed by the freelance reporter responsible for writing it). The Commission did not consider that the newspaper’s coverage was misleading or that the “failure to mention that ten other individuals had avoided the fine…would have altered the general understanding of the situation…in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Code”.

What bollox. The thrust of the story (from what I understand) was that Ken either used his ‘fame’ to get himself let off a fare or that he is a hypocrite for avoiding fares whilst espousing zero tolerance. If he had been a lone in in what had happened, then yes that charge may have some validity, but if ten other people did the same, then it is a bit of a non-story and has detail has been omitted to blacken his name.

Nice one, PCC. Showing us some of the common sense there that makes a mockery of self-regulation.

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