Tabloid bullshit of the month award: October 2011

Finally, it turns up. Wobbling like a drunkard and with a face like like an angry basset hound, it's the 5cc tabliod bullshit of the month award for October 2011. And, er, me, who's had a stinking ear infection that buggered up my balance and made me sad and weak.  Sad and weak.  That's no mood to write a bullshit award in, so I never did.

I'm feeling a bit better now, despite the muffled hearing in one ear, so here it is, a bullshit award in a month positively awash with complete and utter rubbish.

October kicked off the Leveson Inquiry with an appearance by Paul Dacre on the very week his paper told us Amanda Knox had her appeal overturned when she hadn't (filling in some nice, colourful, totally invented detail along the way), as well as repeating a cling-film transparent immigration myth that had been debunked years ago on its front page. Hurrah for Paul Dacre. I can totally see why he'd be annoyed that there were no people with tabloid experience on the panel who can explain this stuff away as totally normal and acceptable.

At least he can console himself with the idea that having a corrections column on page two makes up for all the rubbish his paper prints. Makes I laugh, that one.

We also had the Times and various other outlets parping on about how most of the tents at Occupy LSX in St Paul's were unoccupied, a claim described as 'rubbish science' by someone who uses the same sort of camera for his specialised job that the paper had used. The paper had the camera on the wrong setting, apparently. Here's a video of some people coming out of an unoccupied tent. Witches! Burn them!

Oh, and there's obviously the Express with news of how filthy immigrants are eating our Mogwais and the EU causes cancer, plus the Star inevitably chuckling on about some celebrity's conkers and Big Brother or something. Who even looks at that crap any more?

Enough intro! Onto the winners! The award is shared by two stories this month, both from the Mail.  We have 'Truth about Tory catfight: Judge DID rule migrant's pet was a reason he shouldn't be deported' by Nick Fagge (no stranger to this blog) and Jason Groves, and 'Failed asylum seeker who has dodged deportation for a decade told he can stay... because he goes to the GYM', by Sarah Bruce.

Here's the email:
Dear Nick Fagge, Jason Groves and Sarah Bruce,

Congratulations, people. You are the winners of a journalism award given to only the select, the creme de la creme of British tabloid journalists, masters and mistresses in their craft. You can swagger about Derry Street like you own the joint now, for you are the proud winners of the October 5cc tabloid bullshit of the month award. With such a crowded field in October, you should be dead chuffed.

You win for the sterling efforts in 'Truth about Tory catfight: Judge DID rule migrant's pet was a reason he shouldn't be deported' and 'Failed asylum seeker who has dodged deportation for a decade told he can stay... because he goes to the GYM'.

Here's why you won:

Truth about tory catfight

Theresa May was wrong. A man wasn't allowed to stay in the country because he had a cat, whether she made that up or not. He was allowed to stay because he was in a relationship. The judgement in the case doesn't 'vindicate Home Secretary Theresa May over the ‘cat-gate’ row', because it rules the defendant was allowed to stay because he was in a committed relationship.

Seriously, Barry O'Leary, the solicitor in the case, released a lengthy statement rebutting your story. There's an interesting bit in it where he says:
I stress that it was not argued at any point by this firm, nor by my client, that he would 'suffer from being separated from his cat' nor that 'the pet's quality of life would be affected.'
Gee.  I wonder if he was referring specifically to you and your:
Yesterday it was revealed that the Bolivian not only argued that he would suffer from being separated from his cat, but also that his pet’s quality of life would be affected.
Still -doesn't matter, right? Last time your paper pretended the man was allowed to stay because he had a cat, someone complained to the PCC. As TabloidWatch revealed, the PCC found that your paper's claims were inaccurate, but because neither the Bolivian himself or his solicitor complained there was nothing it could do. Cuh. I'm sure its hands were tied. Still, it "trusted that the newspaper would take heed of the points raised in the complaint and bear them in mind for future coverage."

I wonder if the Commission realised the bit you would take heed of was the bit where it said it wouldn't do anything if two specific people didn't complain to the PCC?

Which brings me neatly to: 
Failed asylum seeker who has dodged deportation for a decade told he can stay

This wins mainly because it pulls the exact same trick as the nonsense story about the cat.   

  • The asylum seeker wasn't allowed to stay because he goes to the gym.  He was allowed to stay because he'd built a stable life here and made lots of friends.  He just happened to make a lot of them at the gym. 
  • There's some other lovely stuff in there.  Like the claim the guy had been here for a 'decade' in the headline, and the 'nearly a decade' in the opening sentence, when in fact the guy has only been in the country for six years. 

  •  Plus, I know it was probably a sub and not you, but you gotta love the random shout at the end of the HEADLINE.

Doesn't matter if it's rubbish though, right? Unless the man himself or his solicitor complains, you're fine. Even if they do, you'll just face having a 'correction' in a little nib on the graveyard that is page 2 in a few months' time. Oh, the horror! The horror!

Both of these stories are sterling examples of the well-worn tabloid bullshit trick of the red herring - taking one thing from a long list of points, and claiming it's the only thing on the list. Who cares if a man wasn't allowed to stay in the country just because he had a cat? A cat got mentioned, so let's pretend.  If you need any more examples, just look at pretty much every story ever about something being banned because of Muslims.

Still, it's for the greater good. You're fighting the good fight of sticking the boot into immigrants and Muslims. And gays. And brown people. And lefties. And everyone else the Mail hates. I won't do a full list, this award is already three weeks late.

That's it, I'm done.  As ever, I'll be reproducing this letter over at www.fivechinesecrackers.com. Please, please reply to leave an acceptance comment or rebuttal. Please. I'm begging. I've been doing these for a whole year now, and heard not a peep from any hack, ever. Not one of you have had the cojones to stand up for yourself and make a defence of what you've written.

Why, it's almost as if you can't.

You're also all in the running to win the 5cc tabloid bullshitter of the year award, which will go to the winner of the most monthly awards in the year.  With two months left, you might catch up the leaders!

Cheers then!


That's another month out of the way. Sorry for it being weeks and weeks late, but I really have been pretty ill - I'm only just perking up after about three weeks and a couple of antibiotics prescriptions. I've been doing a lot of sleeping and groaning, but I'm perking up a bit now.

Enough self pity! Get out!


Nuckley said...

Sorry to hear you have been ill, but happy to see the award arrive! Quality work as always. The tension is building towards the TBOY.

Gurp said...

Illness is no excuse! These awards are too good to be subject to your body's pathetic fleshy weaknesses.

Philip said...

Aaaand I believe the November one is due right about now. Might be an opportune time to turn the self-pity back on.

Word Verification: Ebradisu, the capital of somewhere or other that used to have a proper name like Salisbury or Victoria and has been going to the dogs ever since the bloody place got its independence.