Mail Online creates fake wind farm to make fake point

Published 16 Sep 2012


On 8 September the Mail Online carried an article entitled “Are wind farms saving or killing us? A provocative investigation claims thousands of people are falling sick because they live near them”, by well-known seeker of truth, James Delingpole, known to be “right about everything”. So why did he use a faked photo of a wind farm to make his point?

Mail Online's fake Bedfordshire wind farm
Mail Online’s fake “Bedfordshire” wind farm as it appears on their page. First clue: two turbines, facing each other, looking like mirror images of each other. Second clue: look at the missing base of the right-hand turbine tower!

To see the fake photo on the Mail Online page, click here. Five minutes of on-line research, and voila, the truth is revealed. The picture is actually of a farmhouse at Burton Wold, Burton Latimer, Northants:

Mail Online's fake Bedfordshire wind farm
The real location of the the Mail Online’s fake wind-farm. Far less dramatic.


So does this matter? Not a huge amount. It’s not like there’s a big mystery about Mail Online or the Daily Mail’s views on wind farms. It does raise a few questions about Mail Online’s editorial standards though:

  • Which genius decided to photoshop the picture to make it more dramatic?
  • Why was it so ineptly done, so that even the most cursory inspection shows it was a fake? Some graphic designer annoyed at being asked to fake a photo?
  • What does the use of a fake photo say about the validity of the Delingpole’s “news” story itself?Perhaps Mail online’s defence is the same as the BBC’s when Jeremy Clarkson was caught intentionally discharging the battery of a Nissan Leaf for an episode of Top Gear: that all this is just entertainment, not intended to be taken seriously. But given that the UK is in the middle of a serious discussion about energy policy, culminating in a new energy bill and potentially causing a rift between the Coalition partners, doesn’t the Mail Online owe its readers something better?