Wednesday, May 10, 2017

UK tabloid claims actor Halle Berry's life was saved by "the Heimlich" -- but she debunked that years ago; here's what happened when I requested a published correction

Halle Berry (source)

In his 2014 memoir, my dad claimed that actor Halle Berry was saved from choking by "the Heimlich."

But via an award-winning Hollywood Reporter article, she denied the claim.

December obituaries for my father in the New York Times and BuzzFeed included the false "Halle was Heimlich-ed" claim, but, in response to my requests, both news outlets published thorough corrections.

At the same time, the UK's Daily Express tabloid published the bogus claim, but the paper ignored my corrections requests.

So I filed a complaint with UK's Independent Press Standards Organization.


This seemed so straightforward, I assumed it would be a slam dunk.

Plus I was motivated because it would add to my tally of successful, possibly record-making corrections requests as reported in January by Erik Wemple at the Washington Post.

But in a determination that reads like something out of Lewis Carroll, yesterday IPSO wrote me that the factual error published by the Express wasn't "significantly misleading."


It was significantly misleading enough to Ms. Berry.

She told the Hollywood Reporter it was baloney.

In response to the determination, a representative from the Express's legal office thanked IPSO and left the lie uncorrected.

In other words, the paper has made clear that they are intentionally providing false information to readers.

Some skeptics may claim that's not unusual, but how often do you get an empirically provable example like this?

Further, by failing to correct the error, the Express has tacitly admitted that its editorial standards are below the New York Times and BuzzFeed.

Perhaps no surprise there, but how often do you get a bulletproof example?

As for IPSO, based on their determination, apparently they hold their member organizations to a lower editorial standard than the New York Times and BuzzFeed.

Those are just some of the points I raised in my appeal today to IPSO which includes links and screenshots documenting my trip down this UK journalism rabbit hole. Click here to download a copy.

This item has revised.