I work for HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and last week the department announced the launch of our new Tax Academy. Among other things, some of our trainee staff will be able to gain a degree accredited by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). I have been part of the HMRC team working with MMU on this project.
The same day, I saw two news reports about this on line – one on the Daily Telegraph site and one from the Manchester Evening News. Both of them had major factual inaccuracies. The Telegraph story for one thing had the institution wrong – Manchester University is not the same thing as Manchester Metropolitan University! (To be fair, I see that they have now put that one right, but the story still gives a very misleading impression.) The Manchester Evening News at least know the difference between their two local Universities, but again there are factual inaccuracies in their report. Other reports I found looking again today also contain inaccuracies.
Over the years, whenever I have seen press reports about something I have had personal involvement in, they have always been inaccurate in some respect. It’s not that the reports are biased – that’s another topic for another time – it’s just that they can’t get the facts right.
I wonder why I am so ready to assume the rest of the time that what I read in the papers must be true.