Daily Mail blames freak natural accident on striking teachers

Screen-shot-2011-07-01-at-9.56.22-AM.jpg According to the U.K.'s Daily Mail, striking teachers are responsible for the branch that fell on a teenager who was relaxing in a park that day instead of being in class. The headline was even on its homepage earlier today. Update: Charlie Brooker points out that a tweet attributed by the story to an "angry parent"—"she should have been safe at school"—is not to be found by Twitter's search engine. Update: Found! It's someone who says they're a police officer and a parent of one of the victim's friends: "If the frigging teachers weren't on strike she would have been safe in school."


  1. terrible grammar fail!

    should read: “Girl, 13, at park because of teacher strike, crushed to death by falling branch”

    1. If we’re going to get snooty about semantics, wouldn’t that be a “terrible grammar win” ?

      1. nay nay. terrible grammar as a whole is what failed the world in this tragic tale. if the subject was grammar, and grammar failed the world, then it would be a grammar fail that was terrible.

  2. Makes me recall the comment that if as a tourist, you were driving on a Persian Gulf country and had an accident, it was automatically your fault, because if you weren’t visiting there there would have been no accident at all.

  3. Um…. wouldn’t that, if anything, be the city’s fault for not maintaining the park?

    I like that though. It’s like responsibility through chaos theory.

  4. Waaaaaaaay down the bottom is a press release from the parents:

    “Our beloved daughter’s death was a tragic incident, which occurred only 24 hours ago, and we do not want it to be connected to any other events.”

    Stay classy, Daily Mail.

  5. Boy, 17, downed in local pool during a birthday party he wouldn’t have had that day if her mom hadn’t insisted on a c-section


    President shot to death by lone gunman as he sat in a convertible because Lincoln Motorco. exec okay-ed the model months earlier

    Crazy. But what scares me is that somewhere sometime, someone is gonna sue using this type of argument

  6. Using the same logic I can blame the company VP that made me stay at work an extra twenty minutes for the “wrong place at the wrong time” car accident I was part of on the way home. If he hadn’t made me stay to get him that report (which he didn’t look at until the next day anyway), I would not have been anywhere near the accident scene when it happened.

    This logic allows you to assign or deflect blame for ANY random occurence. A defective alarm clock can be the cause of you being hit by lightning, a telemarketer call can be the cause of someone getting fired, and that person didn’t get killed by your negligence, he was killed because he forgot his keys.

    1. >and that person didn’t get killed by your negligence, he was killed because he forgot his keys.

      PHEW!!! THAT’S a relief! I’d much rather he be killed because he forgot his keys than blame the liquor store that sold me that vodka. Mostly cause the second closest liquor store is wayyy too far away.

  7. Ah; but here’s a difficult one: What would the Daily Mail copywriters do if she had been chased away from the park by chavs and illegal immigrants, and thus saved from the peril that organized labor had exposed her to?

  8. Vegan Times newspaper reports that, in related news, the girl had eaten a hamburger earlier in the day.

  9. Ah; but here’s a difficult one: What would the Daily Mail copywriters do if she had been chased away from the park by chavs and illegal immigrants, and thus saved from the peril that organized labor had exposed her to?

    1. “Uneducated girl of 13 becomes Daily Mail writer after altercation with Chavs and immigrants, no one notices decline in content”

  10. I blame the Daily Mail — if only their headlines had been less provocative, the city gardener responsible for maintaining the tree in question would have turned up for work 10 minutes earlier, rather than dawdling at the newsagents.

  11. I see that they have changed the headline to: “Girl, 13, crushed to death by a falling branch as she sat on park bench on the day her teachers went out on strike”.

    Only slightly less stupid and awkward.

  12. Should be “Girl, 13, crushed to death by a falling branch”.

    The rest is senseless sensational garbage. Tragic.

  13. I wish they’d go on strike EVERY day. Then we’d get a REAL education system.

  14. The Daily Mail really is the most unutterable filth. It really makes me ashamed that its produced in my country, England, by my fellow citizens. I’m sorry world, if you ever get to see it, either online or printed. If you have seen it, I apologise.
    I see the byline is “Daily Mail Reporter”. Even the sleazebags who work for this rag haven’t got the guts to admit individual responsibility for producing such corrosive slime. How must they feel, and what do they say when they get home and their kid asks “What did you do today?”

  15. I place blaim on the Daily Mail.

    We all know the age old question “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

    In the same context, If the daily Mail didn’t report this girl, Would the tree have really crush her?

  16. I’m surprised they don’t blame this on child-labor legislation that prevented the girl from being at a 12-hour shift at the bobbin factory. Maybe the Mail has finally given up fighting that fight.

  17. In other news, environmental activists discovered blaming every atmospheric hiccup for the past decade on humans….

    1. (@snorcup) “…further investigation shows there are still people who are in denial that 6 billion humans producing gigatons of greenhouse gases every year can not effect the atmosphere.”

    2. environmental activists

      Or as they’re known outside the lobbyist, paid climate denier, flat Earther world: The overwhelming scientific consensus.

  18. I blame her parents for having a child who would end up under a falling tree branch.

    1. What a surprise; the Daily Heil and the Daily Torygraph have an anti-union, anti-education spin on a tragic story.

      As other commenters have already said, if they could just manage to work in some way of blaming it on single mothers and immigrants then the trinity would be complete.

  19. My mother found a way to blame Katrina damage to New Orleans on PETA: Levees were being damaged by burrowing muskrats & nutria; the gov’t started an awareness campaign to encourage hunting, trapping, and/or eating the varmits; PETA complained and stopped the killing; the levees were subsequently riddled with holes; the hurricane came along and washed away the spongified levees. It was PETA’s fault!

  20. Ok, much as the Daily Mail needs one letter changed in a renaming, they didn’t ever blame the accident on the strike. Their sentence said that she was sitting on the park bench because of the strike. Unfortunately they know their audience and the generally godawful grammar of the British public, so they (most likely) knew it would be misinterpreted. Pleading innocence is like them saying “Hey! There’s those people you hate! They all had sex with your mother. By the way, there’s some weapons over there on that rack. Not that you should use them, this is in no way connected to what we said just before.” Or something like that.

  21. — wouldn’t that be a “terrible grammar win”?

    Naaa its just a case of the terrible act of grammar fail, I would expect it to be very similar to a terrible murder.. which although its execution (poor choice of words) may be poor, it just turns out that no one seems to want to critique it on style points.


  22. The article is in very poor taste considering the tragedy of the situation.

    However, there is a related context that is of interest here.

    Are kids safer at school or not at school? I don’t know the answer to that, but there are presumably stats on that. If it was the case that school is safer, then this should inform decisions such as shutting down whenever there is the smallest flurry of snow, etc.

  23. Meh, its not that long ago since a kid was killed by a falling branch whilst on a school trip.

  24. Gotta love the kind of “I’m an utter dumbass with libertarian/right wing ideas” bent of the Daily Mail.

  25. I hope the CCTV’s they have every 10 ft in the UK pay off and one of them captures an image of the awful tree that committed this crime.

  26. This is probably motivated by the “Lady Gaga pantsless in Paris” style of writing. If this had been two separate articles, “Girl tragically killed by falling tree branch” and “Teachers still on strike” neither story would have a “hook” to make people read beyond the headline.

  27. all deaths travelling to and from school are then clearly the fault of the teachers working… how could they!

  28. hmmm wonder how many kids are alive today because they didn’t travel to school today and so weren’t run over outside the school gates or killed in the car journey thay could have been making..

    DM stretching things a lot here… and this entire week, they’ve desperately been trying to paint the strikers in a bad light, yet the comments have been overwhelmingly in the teacher’s favour… after all, how would you like it if your pension was retroactively changed? The government is trying to retroatively reduce the pensions liability so that they can spin teaching and schools off to their private enterprise buddies…

  29. ‘Girl, 13, killed by tree branch because she bunked off’ TAKE A LOOK AT THAT DAILY MAIL!! Doesn’t quite have the ring to it does it?!

  30. Hey, lay off the Mail! How else am I supposed to find out what Princess Beatrice is wearing every minute of every day?

  31. Doesn’t anyone else find it a little odd that the Mail has quoted three different people saying almost the exact grammatically incorrect sentence: “she was sat on the bench with some friends”?

  32. The one silver lining I take from this is that even the normal DM commenters are pillorying the paper for their barbaric handling of this story, if the tree had been African there may have been a different reaction but take solace where you can.

    1. The same uncharacteristic reaction of Daily Mail commenter’s occurred in a story the day before about a handful of people who were removed from the public sector protests by police. The top rated comments all backed the protests. The story wasn’t there the next day. A previous story about violence at student protests where commenters roundly attacked the protesters stayed in place somewhat longer. Sometimes you can’t help imagining the daily editorial meeting starting with everybody toasting ‘to evil’.

  33. Interesting reaction from the police officer parent. Weren’t the Metropolitan Police (and quite possibly other forces around the UK) pushing hard for the right to go on strike just last (this?) year? Wasn’t there a protest by the Metropolitan Police just a couple of months ago in Whitehall? Those pinko teachers!

  34. Surprised no-one has asked whether it was a traditional English species of tree or a terrible foreign invader. Maybe even a Scots Pine – you know, one brought down south by Blair or Brown and trained to savage English children?

  35. 20 years ago I used to be a student at the school the girl attended. It’s the only non-religious, non-private, secondary school for miles and services several smaller villages in the area, so I’m pretty sure the teachers aren’t all on strike because they think it’s a bit of a lark.

    This story is a horribly tragic event, but it absolutely sickens me that The Daily Fail and other “news”papers have to put a half-arsed political spin on it in spite of the parents wishes just days after their loss. These days free speech seems to be nothing but a shield used by callow publishers so they can put any old hate and tat out on the stands.

  36. When I was at school a friend died driving a car with three other friends in it. It was pretty horrendous for everyone.

    We weren’t prepared for the journalists who doorstepped families within hours, let alone the cover story in the Daily Mail the next day, alongside the picture they’d got from her mum, besides the headline “this is the girl who drove the car of death”.

    Unable on that occasion to blame striking teachers or asylum seekers, the subs made their own subtle yet gross inference.

    A slimy scrotum of evil that newspaper.

  37. Indeed. It is a grammar fail, not another idiotic burst of “the-tsunami-was-caused-by-all-da-gay-sex’n”

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