Daily Mail swallows Osborne’s myth about women ‘winning’ in his budget

The Mail parrots claim that women are 'the real winners from living wage', but ignores tax credit cuts

Daily Mail St George crop


How should newspapers report speeches by politicians?

Let’s take a story from today’s Daily Mail as a case study. It previews a speech by Tory chancellor George Osborne, in which he asserts that women make up two thirds (65 percent) of those who will benefit from his national living wage. 

The Mail slavishly repeated the claim in its story, headlined: Women ‘are real winners from living wage’.

What the paper doesn’t mention is that Osborne completely ignores the impact of his other measures, notably scrapping tax credits. (Tax credits are not mentioned in the story.)

As the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies said last week, the loss of tax credits and cuts to welfare cancels out any advantage the national minimum wage would provide, and actually leaves millions worse off financially.

This will disproportionately affect women, as did previous cuts in the last parliament.

As women’s charity A Fair Deal for Women reported in May 2015, one in four women in the UK are in low-paid or insecure work.

The UK has the sixth largest male-female pay gap in the European Union, according to Eurostat.

And the Office of National Statistics says women earn on average 19.1 percent less than men.

In other words, all the damage Osborne’s budget will do to working people will hit women much harder.

It’s one thing for the brass-necked chancellor to stand up and claim he is helping women when he is hurting them.

It’s another for a national newspaper, often hostile to the government, to swallow this lie and regurgitate it untarnished by inconvenient facts.

So, how should newspapers report speeches by politicians?

A speech of any substance by a politician is surely newsworthy, but papers should beware of letting politicians dictate the news agenda.

When covering a speech, papers ought to scrutinise what is said, checking it against the evidence to provide readers with an accurate picture.

Very often, though, if the papers like the politician, party or policy, they will simply act as stenographer for said politician.

Today’s Mail story is the latest example of the contradiction between its populist tone and the elitist interests it serves.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter

Read more: 

Tory press flip-flops on non-doms. Here’s what they said in April

Tory press shirks its duty and waves pom-poms for Osborne’s budget

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9 Responses to “Daily Mail swallows Osborne’s myth about women ‘winning’ in his budget”

  1. stevep

    The Daily Mail doesn`t swallow anything, It parrots right-wing policy and comment.
    It is an organ of the right-wing establishment.

  2. TerrenceACaraballo

    Lates Quality performance leftfootforward….. <…. Find Here

  3. Cole

    Which is why it’s good to have MediaWatch analysing and exposing this right wing rubbish…

  4. Torybushhug

    I own a small business arranging complex finance for people wanting to for example start a business. As such I need to have a forensic insight into their financial planning.
    A constant retort I hear is ‘oh the Missus keeps her hours to ‘x’ so as to keep her tax credits’.
    How did we manage before this mass entitlement Brown gave us?
    Removing these supports will see people regain their personal dignity and sense of self reliance.
    Trust ignorant populist lefties to fall for the childish IFS line that people will somehow just accept a loss of tax credit and do nothing to increase their wages / hours. Just as the loony dim witted left told us we’d loose a million jobs let alone create 2 million.
    The left will never understand Human nature and how mass entitlement causes people to dim their horizons.

  5. Torybushhug

    We on the right endure endless myth and infantile populism from the left, but we aren’t so paranoid as to want to monitor it in an official capacity. Lefties are akin to those paranoid thin skinned freaks you find on American Bible bashing forums that will not tolerate alternative views or the slightest descent.

    Mindless populism based around throwing money at every issue, which appeals greatly to those of an infantile populist disposition. An innate inability to see the bigger picture and understand the Human condition, in particular with regard to the toxic warping effects mass welfare has on a persons sense of self and empowerment.

  6. stevep

    You would want the media monitoring closely if it was in the hands of the left. You would whine and bleat like crazy.

  7. stevep

    You want lend some of your organisational expertise to large corporations, wealthy tax-dodgers, businesses not paying a living wage and agriculture to help wean them off being “entitlement drones”.

  8. Mason Dixon, Autistic

    Really? So at what threshold do your clients lose tax credits? Where are they holding their household income?

  9. Harold

    Did you write the TerrenceACaraballo •comment as well?

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