Following my report earlier this week about a Newsweek/Daily Beast writer who said the Daily Mail stole her story and only offered the “tiniest fig leaf of attribution,” it appears the U.K. tabloid removed the offending story from its website.
The URL for the Mail piece now leads to an error page that says “The page you have requested does not exist or is no longer available.”
“The Daily Mail basically reprinted the entirety of my 700-word piece,” Abigail Pesta had written in an email to Poynter.
After publishing my post I heard from a colleague of Pesta’s, Jesse Ellison, who said the Mail did the same thing to her by lifting a 2011 article about a U.S. soldier who said he was gang raped by other soldiers while in the Army. (There have, of course, been other complaints about how the Mail steals stories. In fact, one commenter on my first post said the Mail did the same thing to him this month as well.)
Ellison’s Newsweek piece was published April 3, 2011, and the Mail story went online the following day. Unlike the most recent example, the 2011 Mail story does not include even a passing reference to Newsweek or Ellison. Here are a few phrases from the two articles for comparison:
NEWSWEEK: Less than two weeks after arriving on base, he was gang-raped in the barracks by men who said they were showing him who was in charge of the United States.
MAIL: Less than two weeks after arriving, aged 35, he said he was gang-raped by men who claimed they were ‘showing him who was in charge of the United States’.
NEWSWEEK: But last year more than 110 men made confidential reports of sexual assault by other men, nearly three times as many as in 2007.
MAIL: But more than 110 men last year reported sexual assault by other men – almost three times as many as in 2007, with actual victim numbers believed to be much higher.
NEWSWEEK: “One of the reasons people commit sexual assault is to put people in their place, to drive them out,” says Mic Hunter, author of Honor Betrayed: Sexual Abuse in America’s Military. “Sexual assault isn’t about sex, it’s about violence.”
According to Hunter and others, the repeal of the military’s policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” might actually help the institution address the issue. Under that rule, being gay meant being fundamentally unfit to serve; it meant you didn’t belong. It also meant that victims were even more reluctant to report their attacks. “I wouldn’t say that the repeal is going to make it safe,” says Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, a think tank on gays in the military.
MAIL: ‘One of the reasons people commit sexual assault is to put people in their place, to drive them out,’ Mic Hunter, author of ‘Honor Betrayed: Sexual Abuse in America’s Military’, said. ‘Sexual assault isn’t about sex, it’s about violence.’
Mr Hunter and others say the end of the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ military’s policy could help the military address the issue.
‘I wouldn’t say that the repeal is going to make it safe – but male victims will be a little bit less reluctant to report their assaults,’ said Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center – a think tank on gays in the military.