The police have banned carol singers!

Clever old Daily Mail.  The paper didn't fall for any of that nonsense about Dundee Council banning Christmas lights.  It's only the genuine Christmas bans you'll hear about in the Mail.

Did you know the police had banned carol singers.  Seriously.  'Scrooge police 'ban' Christmas carol singers because of stranger dangers'.  When will we stop the encroachment of the nanny state?
Trouble is, this story doesn't even seem to be trying to convince us that the police have banned carol singers.  It's only the second sentence before we learn:

But one town could be dispiritingly silent this festive season after householders were urged to turn Scrooge and ban carollers.  [My bold]
The police are only urging other people to ban carollers.  Apparently:
Householders are being handed postcards that warn carol singers will not be welcome this Christmas because many residents are 'uncomfortable' with having groups of strangers at their doors.
Householders are being handed cards to put in the windows.  Imagine that.  The police coming round your house and telling you to put a card in the window banning carol singers.  How dare they?  Nanny state gone mad!

Except, we find out in the end of the story (the end is always the best bit in this sort of story - it's where the paper hides what really happened):
'Of course the choice of whether to display the cards is down to each individual resident.'

The cards are available from community police teams and local Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators.

They have also been left in public libraries and doctors' surgeries for people to pick up if they so wish.
So, instead of banning Christmas or even urgin other people to ban it, the police have produced cards for people to display in their windows if they're nervous of strangers on their doorstep, which they can pick up from a few different places if they want them.

I almost feel sorry for the hack in this one.  You can just see them finding out about these cards, knocking together a nice, juicy outrage story and then calling the police force and having the whole thing ruined.  What stops me feeling sorry is them clearly thinking 'ahh, bugger it,' and running the story anyway with the police quote at the bottom in the hope nobody notices.

Can we assume that when the Mail next calls to 'Ban this sick filth!' it actually means it wants cards to be produced for people to hang in their windows saying 'Please don't bring in any sick filth' if they want?


the leech said...

I don't know which is more predictable - the annual Daily Mail hysterics about Christmas or the headline-skimming semi-literates that pop up in the comments section.

From the article:

"[The Police Inspector] said: 'Similar cards were first used two years ago for Halloween, and they have been very effective.

'The scheme has been extended and I hope carol singers will be as co-operative and understanding as the trick-or-treaters have been.'"

From the third highest rated comment:

"Odd they didn't think of doing this at Halloween, when the groups appearing at your door are much more intimidating, isn't it? Oh silly me, of course Halloween is an anti-Christian celebration enjoyed by a mulitcultural population isn't it, whereas carol singing ...."

You couldn't make it up

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Do Daily Mail readers actually make it to the end of any story before righteous indignation takes over?

Five Chinese Crackers said...

Daniel, I doubt very many of them get past the headline.

merrick said...

Daniel Hoffman-Gill - Mail readers won't get to the end, but they're not unusual in that.

We feel that the headline, the picture and the opening paragraph or two have told us the story. We rfead on if we are especially interested and want more detail.

Try noticing it next time you've got a paper - how many headlines you read, versus how many articles you begin, versus how many you read all the way to the end.

As 5CC points out, they tuck the truth away at the end. That way, anyone misrepresented by the opening half of the piece doesn't have grounds for complaint as the article can claim to be balanced, even though it's effectively put 'by the way, this is all bollocky old lies' in the small print.