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Friday 12 August 2016

The Mail and the medallist's mother

Daily Mail Daley

A headline in Wednesday's Daily Mail stopped me in my tracks - and not because the question mark was in the wrong place.
Could the paper be showing contrition for running a solo picture of Tom Daley on its front page the previous day?
No chance. The intro immediately disabused me of that notion - and took my breath away:

Her son may just have won an Olympic bronze medal, but that didn't stop Dan Goodfellow's mother from finding something to complain about

Telegraph Daley frontSharon Goodfellow had tweeted surprise when the Daily Telegraph's front page, featuring a photograph of Tom Daley without his diving partner, popped up on the #tomorrowspaperstoday Twitter feed on Monday evening.
The Mail hadn't arrived at that point.

Mrs Goodfellow's reaction stirred a bit of a Twitter breeze, inspiring 84 retweets and 170 "likes" and 20 or 30 comments that were universally supportive. One Twitter user contacted SubScribe to note that three papers had cropped Goodfellow out of a medals photograph. They hadn't. The Express went for Adam Peaty, while the Telegraph and Mail opted for  the Daley beefcake shot.

All of which made an interesting diversion and provided some material for breakfast TV and radio teams seeking something fresh for Tuesday morning.

By Wednesday, Team GB had won more and shinier medals, the world had moved on.
But not the Daily Mail.
To borrow a phrase, our athletes may just have won a clutch of Olympic medals, but that didn't stop the Mail finding someone to complain about. And in the process puncture a family's celebration.

A woman had dared to criticise the Press and question the editorial judgment of another newspaper that had made the same call as the Mail itself. This allowed it to attack both Mrs Goodfellow and another rival paper - The Times - which it didn't name. Here's a bit more of the story:

Sharon Goodfellow, 53, was incensed by media coverage of her son's success after he came third alongside Tom Daley in the synchronised diving.
Mrs Goodfellow bemoaned the fact that despite the divers being equal partners in the event, the British Press had just printed pictures of Mr Daley, 22, on their front pages.
One newspaper even left out and her 19-year-old son Mr Goodfellow's name [sic] altogether, writing as a sub-heading: "Daley and synchronised partner stunned as they claim dramatic diving bronze".
It later adds that Mrs Goodfellow had thanked Gabby Logan for "getting in touch with one broadsheet asking them to amend the sub-heading".

The Times back page

That paper was The Times, which had  not only fixed the omission, but also had a Matthew Syed comment piece about under-recognised "junior" sporting partners up on its website before Logan's Twitter reprimand.

It was a sorry error, and sports editor Alex Kay-Jelski was contrite.
Unlike the Mail.
The Times's ill-considered sub-head was on the back page, under two photographs of Goodfellow and Daley and a caption which named both (the paper had bizarrely preferred to make a "cultural" point about beach volleyball attire on its front).
Take another look at that cutting from the Daily Mail's front page at the top of this post. It focuses solely on Daley. It doesn't even say that he had a partner in a "doubles" event, let alone name him. Goodfellow did make it to the intro of the page 6 story - but Daley alone is headline material.

Daily Mail page 6

So perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that the story about the mother who "found something to complain about", the woman who was "bemoaning", "incensed" and "irritated", didn't mention the fact that the Mail was also guilty of airbrushing Goodfellow out of the limelight.

The Mail has some pet terms for people who refuse to acknowledge what it sees as the error of their ways.
"Shameless", for example. And "arrogant".
It is also known to demand "Now say sorry!"
I think the cap fits, Mr Dacre.

PS: that cultural divide

Times volleyball

It's easy to bash the Mail, but if you're looking for a volleyball picture to demonstrate the "cultural contrast" (as the Times calls it), isn't this one from the same spread as the Daley-Goodfellow story better?

mail volleyball

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