It seems that my polite and innocent request to the Daily Mail has had a positive response. Hurrah for good manners, say I ! :-
From: Editorial, Daily Mail online
To: jo abbess
Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2011 12:54:35 +0000
Subject: RE: Request for a minor correction
Thank you for your email. We have removed your name from the article.
There remains the small problem that the original article has been copied and plastered all over the Interweb, so although my name has been “desmirched” (the opposite of besmirched) at the Daily Mail, I am still instantly name-able by a simple act of Go Ogling.
So, anyway, I decided to try being nice and polite and a bit insistent again, to try to get at least a recognition that the original story was somewhat unresearched.
That way, if anyone researches the story in future, at least the Daily Mail – the source – has corrected it.
See what you think (see below) :-
From: jo abbess
Sent: 03 February 2011 19:39:12
To: Editorial, Daily Mail online
3rd February 2011
Dear Daily Mail,
Thank you for letting me know today that you have removed my name from the online article “The BBC became a propaganda machine for climate change zealots, says Peter Sissons… and I was treated as a lunatic for daring to dissent”, which I believe was originally published online on 25th January 2011.
It’s awfully decent of you to do this, and since you’ve taken the trouble to reply to me and change the piece, I wonder, would you consider a further slight revision ?
Even though you’ve removed my name from the article, it’s been linked all over the Internet, and so it would be great if you would consider rectifying a couple of pesky inaccuracies.
As the “green activist” you mention, in Spring 2008, I was perturbed by the idea that Climate Change sceptics would capitalise on the dubious headline of an article by Roger Harrabin – a headline he probably didn’t write – and I engaged him in an e-mail exchange asking him to change his piece.
However, he wasn’t “berated” by me – so please can you remove this emotive term. It was a respectful e-mail exchange, although I was feeling a bit miffed, which showed. As you well know, Roger Harrabin is a professional journalist, and handled my complaint calmly and collectedly.
You published, “the sense of the changes, as specifically sought by the activist, was plainly to harden the piece against the sceptics.” I think this is plainly contrived, and I would like the claim to be dropped.
He may correct me if I’m wrong, but as far as I understand it, Roger Harrabin only made minor changes to the story, and later made further minor changes to the story, to better reflect the evidence from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).
It’s possible he may have considered modifying the tone of the piece because of my intervention, yet he did not change any material facts, nor did he change the flavour of the story. He certainly didn’t change it just because I asked him to. He knows better than to react to a correspondent in a huff.
You published, “This exchange went round the world in no time, spread by the jubilant activist.” That is not how I remember the turn of events. “Jubilant” is quite the wrong interpretation, and it was Climate Change sceptics in Australia who spread the story.
They cherrypicked certain parts of the e-mail exchange and made false accusations against Roger Harrabin and myself.
The Climate Change sceptics claimed that the e-mail exchange was “proof” of journalistic malpractice, which it wasn’t. Even publishing the exchange online in full didn’t manage to defend the integrity of both parties.
It would be really sportsmanlike of you if you would apologise to Roger Harrabin for repeating “our story” without fact-checking, and if you could please accept his entirely accurate version of his side of the story, which has been in the public domain for over two years.
I’m grateful that you can consider corrections to your publications, as we all know only true stories are sensational.
Ms J. Abbess