A couple of things set my Crackers sense tingling this week that I wanted to follow up, but didn't have time. Luckily, Jamie Sport has taken apart the laughable Daily Mail investigation that shows there are more dirty foreigners looking for work than locals in 'Mail compares apples with oranges, comes up with bananas' at MailWatch, and MacGuffin has taken apart the scary story about there being one rule for Muslim customers at Lloyd's TSB and another for everyone else in 'Shameless Mail stirs up anti-Muslim hatred' at TabloidWatch.
You don't need superpowers to tell when some tabloid stories are rubbish. Sometimes, spotting certain phrases can tell you that what you're about to read will be a load of old monkey cack. Back in 'Nick Fagge, quality journalist', I pointed out that one of these is 'investigation by the Daily Express'. There's another in 'Revealed: The areas of Britain where there are more migrants chasing jobs than locals' in yesterday's Mail. It's 'investigation by the Daily Mail'. Seeing those words lets you know you'll be doing the equivalent of switching on CSI to see that the entire cast has been replaced with the Chuckle Brothers.
Since Jamie's already demolished it at MailWatch, I don't need to look at it in detail. It's enough to point out that Sue Reid has taken figures for the number of people looking for work in one month, and compared them with the number of dirty foreigners who were given National Insurance Numbers in an entire year. Guess what? There were more people doing one thing in one entire year than people doing another in just one month. Well, blow me down. I'm sure this was just a genuine mistake and not at all deliberate.
The fact that the hack involved is the same one who offered people money to come from Poland in their Polish registered car to be photographed breaking the law in order to prove that Polish drivers break the law doesn't indicate that Sue Reid was starting with her conclusion and making the figures fit at all.
In any case, the investigation has now been favourably copied over to the BNP website. Well done, Sue Reid. Hurrah for the blackshirts!
The second story has been demolished too, so all I need to do is quote TabloidWatch saying:
Oh. As usual the spokesman from Lloyds TSB is relegated to near the end of the article. They say:
All of our Islamic accounts comply with Islamic law and are available to anyone regardless of background or faith.'These accounts are structured differently to our traditional accounts and are designed to help prevent a customer slipping into the red. A comparison with the overdraft charging structure on other accounts is meaningless.Available to anyone, you say? That's weird, because the way the Mail presented the story it was as if them Muslims were getting a special deal that wasn't available to anyone else.
Also, MacGuffin points out that the unplanned overdraft fee for all Lloyd's TSB accounts is £15 per month. That one's been favourably reproduced over at the BNP site too. Win double for the Mail!
In the really rather pseudy 'Columnists: Creators of Imaginary Worlds', I said this:
what we get [from the tabloids] are the same stories repeated endlessly, regardless of what is actually happening. These are the stories that the tabloids have identified as being what their target audience want to hear; stories about how certain groups live up to stereotypes, stories about how people in authority are completely stupid and lack common sense, stories about how crime is inexorably rising, stories about how immigration is destroying the fabric of society (usually because of the earlier one about stereotypes) and so on.By Five Chinese Crackers
Both these stories show that process in action. The first (from a hack who has already deliberately tried to manipulate events to get hold of a story that fits the anti-immigration narrative that says that foreigners are criminal) fits in with the 'we are being overwhelmed by foreigners taking our jobs' narrative. Of course, it's rubbish because it compares a month's activity with a year's. But the point of the story was never to actually seriously investigate anything. The point of the story was to push the job-stealing narrative.
The second story even quotes someone from Lloyd's TSB at the end pointing out that the entire story is rubbish. The paper still goes with the story and buries the quote at the end to cast doubt on it, because the point of the story was never to give an honest comparison between different types of bank account. It was to push the 'Muslims get special treatment' narrative.
It's inevitable that the BNP will jump on anti-immigration and anti-Muslim stories that appear in the papers and use them for their own ends. That's one reason why papers should be sure that whenever they publish these kinds of stories they should be accurate - and not just slapped together hogwash designed to attract gullible readers to the paper. Trouble is, that would mean the papers would need to change their entire reason for existence to, oh I don't know, reporting the news accurately?