Tag Archives: newspapers

The Daily Star don’t bother checking facts. Fact.

This has been peppered all over the internets today, but I thought I’d have to stick my oar in as it’s something I’ve been following closely. HERE WE GO:

The other day, The Daily Star (red-top tabloid, fact fans) printed a story (you can see it here in linked form) about a new videogame, book and movie being released, all based on the shenanigans of one Raoul Moat (dead murderer, fact fans). The book, apparently, was real. The movie, no one knows. The game was said to be Grand Theft Auto: Rothbury, and was accompanied by an image purported to be the game’s cover. As this was such a shocking game to be seeing release, The Daily Star contacted the family of the girl who was shot in all that nonsense the other week, asking her grandmother what she thought of the fact a game was being made of all this. Understandably she was upset and confused by Rockstar’s (developers of the GTA series) decision.

Only it wasn’t Rockstar’s decision. It wasn’t anyone’s decision. Because it wasn’t real. Literally the second this stuff broke was the second all gamers and most people with two brain cells to rub together concluded the image of the game’s cover was a very poorly-made Photoshop, ala all of the images I put up here. Anyway, I’m getting lost in explanations and it’s boring me, so let’s cut to what I’m laughing about today.

The Daily Star have issued a hugely grovelling apology, indicating they didn’t even do anything they were supposed to do to make sure their story was in any way accurate, and that they’ve paid Rockstar money to back up this apology. Aside from the hilariously-quick turnaround, it’s one of the most straightforward and intense apologies ever seen in newspapers. Probably. It just shows what having a multi-million selling franchise that isn’t just about murdering prostitutes can do for your company with regards to the lawyers it can hire.

But there is one thing I want to know: Jerry Lawton, who wrote the story. Will he still have a job this time next week? I’m guessing yes. Papers put aside money to pay off settlement fees and journalists seem to receive little more than a slap on the wrist for simply not doing their job, even if this does involve bringing extra, completely unnecessary suffering to a grieving family member. I think the attention The Daily Star got out of this – the increase in traffic to their site and the increase in sales of the paper itself – will more than make up for what will likely be written off as a faux-pas. Lawton will carry on doing his job, nothing will happen and people complaining will eventually move on to other subjects.

I don’t do my work, I am in trouble. You work in a shop and you don’t do your job you’re in trouble. You join the army and don’t kill the people you’re told to kill you’re in trouble. You become a plumber’s apprentice and don’t plumb anything you’re in trouble. You work for the Queen and don’t bother working for the Queen you’re in trouble.

You become a journalist and don’t hold up any of the basic tenets of the profession in the slightest bit, at all, and nothing seems to happen. I hope I am proven wrong, I really do. I hope that cunt gets fired. Out of a cannon. Into the sun. Not the newspaper. This is the kind of thing that makes me sick for sometimes describing myself as a ‘journalist’.

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Deeds (good ones)

What’s the nicest thing you’ve ever done? Helped an old woman across the road? Loaned a friend more than £12? Decided against shooting a baboon? Surprisingly for my cold, rough, sexy, aloof exterior, I have helped people out on more than one occasion. I’m not saying to the point of deserving a medal, or even that these things were particularly memorable, but it’s just something my mind goes back to when I’m reading the endless nonsense on news sites about kids being wankers, students being cockends who destroy civilisation as we know it and human beings in general not giving a shit about their fellow peeps.

I was walking along the streets of Preston with my chum Ben, admiring all the sights this wonderful town had to offer (the Jewel of Lancashire, as I often call it) when we came across a very slow-moving man who seemed to be struggling with his shopping. Being the great people we are, Ben asked him if he needed help (I, obviously, had walked ahead to scout for landmines and not – as might be assumed – because I wasn’t paying attention), and the slightly odd-looking fellow said yes. What followed was incredible, to the point where it may well have defied the laws of physics: it took us around an hour to walk all of 150 metres, while this man told us of how he’d been hit by a truck and could no longer walk very well. As if we needed reminding. He also told us of his desire to “get his cook on” (my words, not his) and that he was looking forward to “those small, round, green things” (his words, not mine), which we reminded him were called ‘peas’. Anyway, we got him to his house and we were on our way. After mugging him, obviously.

Another other time I’ve helped someone in distress was a few years before the last example. Arriving at my mother’s house after returning home from school, I encountered an old man who lived a few houses away from my destination. My powers of deduction led me to the conclusion that this man wasn’t in the best of situations, as he was face down on his front path, with blood coming from his head and a wheelie bin next to him, which was also lying face-down. Said powers of deduction also helped me fathom that he had been lying like this for a while, and that no one had helped him. I managed to figure this last part out as he was still lying there and hadn’t been helped. So, I took it upon myself to help up this large old man, who was unable to push himself up thanks to gout, or something. It was a fun wrestle, where I ended up partly-covered in old man blood and – after about twenty minutes of struggling – an upright old man. He negated to thank me, instead commenting that the blood he had just smeared on the front panelling of his house would “attract bluebottles” (his words, and mine), before declining an ambulance and shuffling off inside. Two things about this help-o-incident: one, a middle-aged, upwardly-mobile man who lived a few doors further down came out of his house to observe what was going on when I was mid-wrestle with old man. He did not offer to help, instead deciding a smile and a wave would be adequate before disappearing back inside. I would like to know what thoughts – or lack thereof – were going through his head at that point (“oh, it’s that young lad from up the road looking like he’s struggling to bum the old man from next door-but-one, who – as it happens – is covered in blood. Well, I’ve got crumpets waiting for me indoors!”). Two, I received a Christmas card that year with a tenner in it and two sides of shaky, old man writing thanking me for helping him in his “hour of need” (his scrawling, not mine). I assumed it was from the man I helped, and not a mystery suitor trying to get into my pants.

I don’t speak for everyone – that day will arrive, but for today I just speak for myself and everyone in a five-mile radius (by the Queen’s decree, no less). But I will say these here words: it’s easy to see that the news is filled with a lot of reactionary bullshit and that it’s skewed to present the world in a way it simply isn’t. As a result, it’s common for the news to be treated with an air of weariness – it isn’t trusted entirely. But even though that’s the case, I still feel that people buy the words they’re fed, even if they claim otherwise – I am guilty of this as much as anyone – and this is especially the case when it comes to slagging off ‘chavs’, ‘hoodies’, ‘students’ or ‘pricks’. We need to remember that the vast majority of people aren’t out to knife you and will, in fact, happily lend a hand should you need one. Especially if there’s the chance to get paid.

I am basing this entirely on the fact that I’ve helped a couple of people, mind, so it may not actually ring true in practice. Don’t quote me on any of this, and in fact don’t try any of it. You might end up getting stabbed by a teenager. They’re all cocks, after all.

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