Tucked away deep in the dank recesses of the Mail's clunky and especially hard-to-navigate website (don't you find nowadays that news websites are like an old-skool Indian restaurant menu? Too much choice, too much information, so many options, an overwhelming mass of words without very much idea of what's nice and what isn't) there is a letter written by Wiktor Moszczynski of the Federation of Poles in Great Britain (FPGB).
A rather strange thing to find on the Mail's website, isn't it?
The Federation of Poles in Great Britain has been concerned about newspaper coverage which has sought to emphasise negative aspects of the Polish presence in the UK.
In our view, the worst examples linked Poles with words and phrases like "feckless", "chancers", "race riots", "swamp the NHS", "fears for schools", "cut-price treatment", "push British graduates to back of the jobs queue", "killers, drug smugglers and rapists". We consider that this has made Poles living in the UK feel vulnerable and persecuted.
Some might argue that these robust headlines were aimed more at the British Government, its immigration policy and at the European Union. Fair enough.
This implies therefore that Poles came into the firing line not because they were Poles but because they were the most visible symbol of those government policies that the Daily Mail has criticised.
And you may have read in your local paper - but not in the Mail, mind - about Poles in your area having been subjected to violence and abuse from Brits. I wonder if these things might be connected, and whether the FPGB has a point?
Wiktor uses an interesting word, 'robust', to describe the headlines - but it's also interesting to see that he sees it as a stance on the part of the Mail to attack the Government, the EU and immigration policy; you'll recall that the Mail has only ever publicly claimed to want an 'open and honest debate' on immigration. I think this could put that into sharp focus.
The Guardian covered this move from the Mail the other day, which reveals a little bit more about how the Mail decides to cover stuff:
The letter, by Wiktor Moszczynski, spokesman for the Federation of Poles in Great Britain, was also posted on Mail Online, where readers can comment on it.
Bzzt! Wrong! Actually, they can't comment. I think you can take a wild stab in the dark about what would have happened if the Mail had allowed its readers to comment on Wiktor's letter, can't you.
Today's letter was the result of a deal brokered by the Press Complaints Commission, as revealed yesterday by MediaGuardian.co.uk, after the federation made a formal complaint to the regulator claiming that the Mail's coverage humiliated Poles.
It goes a little bit further than a letter, though, not that you'd know that from reading the Mail's website. The Mail has also agreed to remove stories from its website:
The Mail rejected the accusation, but after negotiations conducted via the PCC it has agreed to remove some articles from its website and alter others.
Well now that's interesting, isn't it. The Mail claims it's just a mere trifle of Poles not quite understanding the 'robust' headlines and the 'aggressively free press' in the UK. But that's bollocks, because they've agreed to take down stories and change others. Why do that, if you've done nothing wrong and it's a mere misunderstanding?
At the time of the complaint, the Mail had said:
However, the Daily Mail dismissed these claims. "If you take the balance of articles published by us the Polish migrant has not been identified as a hate figure and we have often and continuously drawn attention to the benefits Britain has and does derive from the skills that immigrants bring us," the Daily Mail spokesman said.
The idea of balance is a remarkable one - a good idea in principle, but only if that principle is fairly applied. It's almost as if the Mail thinks you can slag off people one day with wilfully misleading statistics and pejorative headlines, but so long as you do something another time about them being not quite so awful, it doesn't matter about the accuracy or slant of what you say. And that's just plain nonsense.
But... the Mail took down stories. The Mail changed other stories. Its coverage wasn't as 'robust' as it thought it was if, when faced with even the feebleness of the toothless PCC, it caved in and removed stories. The evidence must have been utterly overwhelming in favour of the Polish argument.
I wonder which stories? And I wonder if they took them off the Google cache as well?