British politician Ed Miliband, the leader of the UK Labour Party, has been lobbing complaints at the Mail on Sunday the past month for its reporting on his family. While the Mail, a conservative outlet, has apologized for one “terrible lapse of judgment,” overall, the Mail has stood by its claims that his father “hated Britain.”
The whole thing started when late last month, the Mail published an article that claimed Miliband’s father, Ralph, “hated Britain.” Miliband ended up writing a response to the article in defense of his father that the Mail published. But even that led to controversy because the Mail republished its original claims about Miliband’s father.
On one point in this politician-newspaper feud, the Mail conceded it was out of line. The Mail on Sunday‘s editor Geordie Greig apologized to Miliband for a “terrible lapse of judgment” after a reporter went uninvited to Miliband”s uncle’s private memorial to get interviews for follow-up stories on the controversy, the Guardian reported.
Greig said he didn’t know about the reporter’s plan to go to the service, and that “it was a decision which was wrong.” Further, because of the incident, “two journalists have been suspended and a full investigation is now being carried out,” Greig said in a statement published by the Guardian.
How the Clash between Miliband, Mail Started
The Sept. 27 story about Ralph Miliband was titled: “The man who hated Britain: Red Ed’s pledge to bring back socialism is a homage to his Marxist father. So what did Miliband Snr really believe in? The answer should disturb everyone who loves this country”
As the BBC summarized, the Mail story “highlighted a diary entry Ralph Miliband wrote at the age of 17 saying that the English were “perhaps the most nationalist people in the world… you sometimes want them almost to lose [the war] to show them how things are.'”
A couple of days later, Miliband defended his father in his own article on the Mail‘s website called “Why my father loved Britain.” Miliband rejected the Mail‘s claims and said while “it comes with the territory” as a politician for him to be criticized, “my dad is a different matter.”
“I loved him and he loved Britain,” Miliband wrote. “And there is no credible argument in the article or evidence from his life which can remotely justify the lurid headline and its accompanying claim that it would ‘disturb everyone who loves this country.'” He went on to accuse the Mail of basing its entire article about his father hating Britain on “a single diary entry by my father, written as a 17-year-old.”
“To ignore his service and work in Britain and build an entire case about him hating our country on an adolescent diary entry is, of course, absurd,” Miliband stated. Miliband acknowledged that his father had “strongly Left-wing views” but said that he “pursued a different path” with “a different vision.”
Even after Miiband’s response, tensions persisted. Miliband and his party slammed the Mail for re-publishing an “abridged version of the original article” along with an editorial about Miliband’s father, the BBC reported. The Labour Party is quoted as saying that because “the newspaper has repeated its original claim,” it “simply diminishes the Daily Mail.” For his part, Miliband said he was “even more appalled that they repeated that lie.”
The Mail’s editorial was titled “An evil legacy and why we don’t apologise” and reads in part: “Today, we stand by every word we published on Saturday, from the headline to our assertion that the beliefs of Miliband Snr ‘should disturb everyone who loves this country’.”
Further, The Mail has defended the claims about Miliband’s father and maintained that Ralph Miliband “wasn’t an ordinary private individual but a prominent academic and author who devoted his life to promoting a Marxist dogma which caused so much misery in the world,” the BBC reported.
The Mail also deleted a photo from an article on Miliband’s father which showed his grave site with “the caption ‘grave socialist,'” the BBC added.
In Miliband’s complaints about the reporter’s presence at the memorial, he said he didn’t plan to file a complaint with the PCC. “I believe no purpose would be served by me complaining to the Press Complaints Commission because it is widely discredited,” Miliband is quoted as saying in a letter to the Mail’s proprietor, the Guardian reported.