When the Daily Mail ‘fessed up and admitted that it had defamed First Lady Melania Trump, apologising and publishing a rather more fulsome correction than most of the paper’s victims manage, what many of those reading might not have known is that not only was this case not the first time the paper has come unstuck publishing claims that fitted the paper’s righteous agenda, it was the second such case to pay out this week.
What the f***'s wrong with slagging off some East European bint, c***?!? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay
The Melania Trump settlement had been expected since the Mail first told readers “Racy photos, and troubling questions about his wife's past that could derail Trump … Naked photoshoots, and troubling questions about visas that won't go away: The VERY racy past of Donald Trump's Slovenian wife” - suggesting she had worked as a high-end escort after first arriving in the USA - and then realised they were in deep shit, and retracted.
“To the extent that anything in the Daily Mail's article was interpreted as stating or suggesting that Mrs. Trump worked as an 'escort' or in the 'sex business,' that she had a 'composite or presentation card for the sex business,' or that either of the modeling agencies referenced in the article were engaged in these businesses, it is hereby retracted, and the Daily Mail newspaper regrets any such misinterpretation” grovelled the Dacre doggies obsequiously. And there was more.
“The Daily Mail newspaper and MailOnline/DailyMail.com have entirely separate editors and journalistic teams … In so far as MailOnline/DailyMail.com published the same article it wholeheartedly also retracts the above and also regrets any such misinterpretation”. Well, it didn’t work, because, as the BBC has reported, the Mail has had to pay up.
“The UK's Daily Mail newspaper has agreed to pay damages and costs to the first lady of the United States over an article about her modelling career … The newspaper had reported allegations that Melania Trump once worked as an escort, but later retracted its article … Mrs Trump accepted damages and an apology from the newspaper at London's High Court”. The cost? Well north of £2 million at current exchange rates.
But what many will have missed is that the Mail had, earlier in the week at the Supreme Court before Lord Neuberger, attempted to bodyswerve part of the costs awarded against them as part of the action brought by businessman Andy Miller, after the Mail claimed - in a front page headline - that because Miller was a friend of then Met Commissioner Ian Blair, a contract his firm had won with the London cops was evidence of corruption.
Miller took the case up with the Mail’s legendarily foul mouthed editor Paul Dacre, whose response was so unsatisfactory that Miller sued. He won. The Mail appealed, and kept appealing, as with a player in the highest stakes poker game, daring Miller to stay at the table if he thought he was hard enough. Then, when the Mail lost once more, they cavilled about the costs awarded against them. They lost that one this week. That case was estimated to have cost the Mail £3 million back in 2014. The judgment confirms that.
To lose one defamation case in one week, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose two looks like rather more than carelessness.
The Mail does seem to be spending a lot of time in and around the courts right now. You might ask why that should be. I couldn’t possibly comment.