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Daily Star editor endures Leveson grilling for 'anti-Islam' coverage



The editor of the Daily Star endured a bruising encounter at the Leveson inquiry today, facing sustained questioning over her newspaper’s coverage of Muslims.

Counsel Robert Jay repeatedly showed Dawn Neesom front pages of her newspaper and asked if she considered them “ethical”.

“A journalist might feel the headlines we’ve been looking at stray way over the line of what’s ethical,” he said.

Mr Jay showed one front page featuring the headline: “Muslim thugs aged just 12 in knife attack on Brit school boy.”

He branded the language “tendentious”, pointing out that the victim was described as “British”, but the perpetrators, who were also British, were described as “Muslim”.

He also pointed out that the ‘attack’ actually referred to a comment on Facebook.

“It’s not good,” Ms Neesom admitted. She promised to pursue the issue “back in the office”.

Asked repeatedly to demonstrate examples of positive coverage of Muslims, Ms Neesom could provide only one example – a story about a Muslim man who lost his son during the August riots and called on the community not to take revenge.

Ms Neesom promised to provide the inquiry with other examples of positive coverage.

“We’ll see what you provide,” Mr Jay replied.

Ms Neesom insisted that as an employee of a Jewish-owned company she had never allowed positive coverage of the far-right English Defence League (EDL), despite media experts raising serious questions about the tone and prominence of its coverage of the group.

Asked about any arrangements for journalists to whistle-blow on issues they had with the working culture at the newspaper, Mr Jay suggested her answer was “another example of rather thin and non-existent systems”.

Online, former Daily Star journalists ridiculed their old boss as she gave testimony.

It’s funny how much Dawn ‘isn’t aware of’ seeing as she stands at the subs [subeditor’s] desk verbally writing the P1 [page one] headline on a daily basis,” one said.

Another wrote: “Someone buy Jay a pint. I’ve waited to watch Neesom skewered like this for a long, long time.”

Later, the inquiry will hear from Richard Desmond, owner of the newspaper and the Daily Express.

Nice to see the Leveson enquiry grilling the (largely Right-wing) tabloid press for their perennial misdemeanour’s - be it the anti-privacy ‘paparazzi’ culture the enquiry was set up to examine, or cases of clear continual bias along populist moral panics of the era, as highlighted above.

When the ‘one positive headline’ (referred to in the proceedings) was printed, I remember actually posting about it in my amazement - it really is that rare to see positive depictions of British Muslims and Islam in tabloids… and it’s not just the Daily Star - most tabloids are the same.

I suppose this is good news, but I hope all of you understand that the Daily Mail is very biased against Muslims.


33, Single mother. Can’t afford daycare. Monthly income: $1000. Monthly Bills: $600-$1000 a month (depending on what I want to actually pay that month) $285 for student loans alone… my sister, eight years older then I am, pays $50…. I’m forced to live with my parents, which is an unhealthy environment for me and my son.

MAXIMUM amount of monthly income to qualify for state health insurance: $399. Last time I had health insurance, I was in highschool.

I work at home for rich clients who refuse to pay their bills, even though we’ve given them a 30% discount on what I call the “dollar store of web development companies”, and think they have the right to treat you like their slave.

I get no credit, nor do I get paid for, my time spent software engineering, improving client’s businesses with MY ideas, troubleshooting, solving business issues or consulting. I make almost $15,000/year for a job I should be getting twice as much for.

I have an IQ of 140. I graduated with a 3.95 GPA in computer science, the only reason it was this low was because I had an issue with a teacher that gave me a bad grade. He was later fired, I wasn’t the only one with an issue with him….. How well I did in school, or how smart I am on technical tasks… means nothing.

I struggle with social anxiety and depression. I can’t make eye contact and do not do well in social situations with strangers, especially job interviews. Cheap medications, that aren’t working, is a necessary monthly bill.

I am over 100 lbs overweight and have pre-diabetes and heart disease with no health insurance or care. I have no energy to diet or exercise and have an overly rambunctious three year old to keep track of and make sure he’s not trying to jump out the second story window again today while I attempt to work.

I’ve had surgery on my right hand twice, once for carpal tunnel release, the second, to fix the first surgery, which was botched by an inexperienced doctor, whom I still owe. I have about 20% use of my hands. I was denied workman’s comp for life, they offered $500 to pay for the lawyer, which he waived, I had to sign the papers, 6 months later, because I had been unemployed for over 3 years already and needed the money.

I feel I have maybe 3-5 more years before I cannot use my hands anymore and am forced to file disability. The idea of this disgusts me. Physcial therapy could extend that to at least 20 years… there is no assistance available to do this.

I am $60,000 in student loan debt. $225 out of the $285 monthly bill is purely for interest. $20,000 of those loans, that aren’t federal, haven’t been paid on for 8 years, I am hoping no one notices. If you’re in default, you are not eligible for the income based repayment plan which could make them below $100 a month… According to the calculator, mine would be $15/month… you need to be in recovery for a year, I paid $315 a month for a year in order to be eligible for this. This does not make sense to me. If I could have afforded to pay for the loans in the first place… I wouldn’t be needing the IBR!!!!!!!!!!!! Fun fact: after delaying them for 6 years, I was only 2 months late on payment to get into default.

I have been trying for the last 4 years to save $2000 to file bankruptcy for $5000-$10000 medical debt. It still hasn’t happened.

I’m about to add thousands of dollars in medical debt for dental work for my son, who needs to see a specialist due to his age (3)…. It may be his christmas present this year. I hope he’ll appreciate it when he’s older, that is, if I pay for it, I doubt I will.

Two months ago my bank account was emptied of $1400 by court order (that i was served for 4 years ago on the day I was in labor and delivery), it took me a year to save that much, to pay for an eleven year old medical bill that was $200 to begin with. The money in my bank was mostly child support… It’s illegal for a creditor to take child support from you. I had no time or any money left to dispute it. I could not get away from work or my son, in order to file the claim that I had all of 7 days to dispute, and I was not notified it had happened until 3 days after the fact. I was lucky I was able to pay that student loan bill that month. I had only a few dollars left in my account.

I have been trying for the last 4 years to save $2000 to file bankruptcy for $5000-$10000 medical debt. It still hasn’t happened.

I had to photoshop the text on my picture because it’s difficult to use a pen/pencil.

I don’t see myself alive 5 years from now, I fear for my son, who has no other parent.

I have a roof over my head, I have an income, I’m not full of bitterness.. most of the time. I’m one of the lucky ones.

I am the 99%

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