IDS’s Comms Chief Gives Guardian Both Benefits Barrels

Former Sun man turned DWP’s new Director of Communications really doesn’t like the Guardian. Richard Caseby has written an 815-word takedown of the paper for Press Gazette, accusing them of inaccuracy, hysteria and “demonising” public servants:

“Why is it that the national newspaper which devotes the most coverage to welfare reform reports on it with such pinpoint inaccuracy? Is it ineptitude or ideology? Is it the innumeracy of its journalists? Day after day, Alan Rusbridger’s Guardian gets its facts wrong.”

First in the firing line is Polly Toynbee:

“Within weeks of my starting as the Director of Communications at the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), Polly Toynbee stuck the knife in, saying people “could forget factual information” now I had been appointed. It was a typical Guardian smear based on the evidence of absolute zilch. Toynbee managed to throw in two inaccuracies of her own about Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA). So much for “forgetting factual information”. Exquisitely, her apology and corrections run to almost a quarter of the length of her original column.”

Guardian clarifications are not always so prominent and easy to secure, however:

“Truth is, the only way to extract a correction from the Guardian is to treat it like a landed eel. Stand on its head until it spits one out. It’s that slippery.”

Caseby concludes with some friendly advice for Alan Rusbridger:

“The Guardian is drifting into choppy waters again. When Mr Rusbridger waged war on News International, he and his staff got so giddy with the factoids they ended up publishing the longest correction in British newspaper history. It took days of standing on the eel, but it spat one out in the end. Today the same hysteria is creeping into the Guardian’s coverage of the DWP, whose thousands of staff are working hard to introduce the biggest reforms for 60 years…It is wrong for the Guardian to demonise public servants. Mr Rusbridger might wish to get a grip on his skittish staff. He could start by encouraging an ethos of criticism based on fact. His reporters’ latest excursion outside the London bubble in an ill-conceived mission tomisrepresent Newcastle as the UK’s industrially imploded Detroit was so laughable in its misrepresentation even Buzzfeed took the mickey.”

At least he didn’t send round a loo-roll this time. You gonna take that, Alan? 




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