Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Pup attack? It was fabricated!

Law and order. Outrage. Social breakdown. Hooligans. Evil. Youth culture. All those words appeared in the tabloids in the wake of an attack that never happened.

I've long wondered what people abroad would make of Britain if tabloids were their only window to the country.

Joining the endless list of lies, distortions and inaccurate information that's been lining the red tops history through the years, there's now another sensational story which was initially designed and fed to the public to portray the image of a country in tatters.

Last week both the Express, the Sun and the Daily Mail reported that a pup had been stamped to death by a gang of "hoodies". One Philip Davies Tory MP remarked that "This is a typically disgusting example of British society in 2009 and it shows why we need to get a proper grip on law and order".

There you are. Law and order. Outrage. Social breakdown. Hooligans. Evil. Youth culture. Social commentators. All those words appeared in the tabloids in the wake of the attack.

Except, we learn today, the whole thing never happened. It officially emerged last night that a 10-week old puppy did indeed die, but of a virus - and that, after "a detailed veterinary medical examination", he "showed no sign of injury".

Remember Alfie-dad-at-13 last February? Jacko's autopsy? Ashley Cole's "gay orgy" slur? It was all bollocks and so is the news of the attacked puppy.

Last week the Express wrote that "social commentators warned that such behaviour was only symptomatic of the wider problem of Britain’s hooligan culture". Oh yes. If Britain's got a wider problem of hooliganism, it's the one associated with the tabloids' conduct.

Because if the country is indeed going to the dogs, no further indication is needed than the press so frequently (and casually) making up stories and feeding them to the public to whip up fear, anger, paranoia and resentment.

Last week a rhetorical question featured on the front page of the Express: What has happened to our country?

Their headline today is BRITAIN: THE END. Certainly cerebral if they carry on like this.

(H/T The excellent Tabloid Watch)

Also see: The Sun Lied Over Alfie and Guess what...more tabloid lies!


Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

It really is utter hysteria, totally destructive and negative, horrid, horrid journalism.

HarpyMarx said...

The froth and bile that sprews from the gob of the right-wing populist media. Wil it never cease? Not in this present political climate, the media whips certain issues up into a frenzy, 'breakdown of society', 'hoodies hooligans running rampage'... and so on. The media creates nightmare scenarios that don't exist.

Anonymous said...

What a surprise to see rentagob Philip Davies quoted AGAIN. The man's the Beaumont-Dark of our era; boy, am I happy that I fall half a mile outside his constituency.

socialist sam said...

The drama here is that there are so many people who truly take what the Mail and Express write as the gospel.

They read about the story but they'll never know it was bull in the first place.

Miss Suffragette said...

I remember seeing this in the itv news and was genuinely devastated. I love dogs. Every shape or size.
I was sad and now i'm angry. I mean...why would anyone make up such a story? The boy and his mother, appeared in the news, talking and explaining how these youths,etc...Why? What do you gain? Apart from a quick sum of cash....and demonizing a group of people, and the reputation of a city in the process.

Richard T said...

It's fine to wring our hands about what goes into the populist media but why is it popular? Why do people read it and far worse, believe it?

It seems to me that this is actually a fundamental criticism of our education system that we have produced the readers of the foaming mouthed tabloids. Clearly the Sun and Star readers lack essential literacy; those of the Mail and Express lack any critical facilities so they believe the nonsense that they read. Self evidently, of course, an educated population would not read such trash.

I can't think of any other reason for the survival and prosperity of our gutter press.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

I don't think it's as simple as that Richard, the readership of the Sun and its ilk cannot be dismissed wholesale as idiots or illiterate.

We all know a Daily Fail reader and it is rare that they fill our stereotype of them, I honestly believe that many people read those 'newspapers' and take the content with a pinch of salt or use a critical mind to unpick it, to a degree.

However, I do believe that a proportion of the readership to rely heavily on it as a source of factual information and their view of the world is coloured by it, to some degree or another.