Following the fox attack on two sleeping baby twins in Stoke Newington, an enormous amount of press coverage has been given to the apparent threat posed by foxes.
Of course what happened in North London must have been truly scary. It was a real tragedy and our sympathy goes to the family as we wish the two children a prompt recovery from their injuries.
However, this accident has proven a textbook example of how the British press loves to scream "tragedy!" and "outrage!" without any sense of proportion or perspective. To say that reports on the alleged "threat" posed by foxes were distorted and over the top is an understatement.
Foxes are at risk of turning into the new social workers.
Just look at the photos selected to accompany many tabloid "reports" of the incident. They didn't just show a fox. It had to be a snarling sinister one too. Just in case you weren't convinced of what "vicious pests" those animals are.
Let's be logical about it. How many panic-laden TV reports or tabloid pieces do you read about children killed in traffic accidents?
And yet every year there is an enormous amount of kids losing their lives on UK roads. According to the Child Accident Prevention Trust, in 2008 131 children under 16 were killed in traffic collisions. Almost 23,000 were injured.
According to the NSPCC, the number of child homicides (that is, at the hand of adults) has averaged 79 a year for the last 28 years.
More news. Each day 55 pre-school children need hospital treatment for burns and scalds in domestic accidents. That's each day - in Britain.
In 80 years, no child has ever been killed by a fox in this country, whether in urban areas or in the countryside.
There are more chances that someone will be killed by lightning (5 people each year in the UK) than there are of foxes attacking humans.
The incident in Stoke Newington was the second reported of its kind in eight years. In 2002 a similar one in Kent resulted in a baby getting injured.
It's quite obvious that, as per usual, the press at large (not just the tabloids) are enjoying preying on people's fears. They obviously think the image of a fox on the rampage can turn into a juicy news story. Maybe because injuries caused by a wild animal strike some chord with our subconscious, as it may evoke childhood nightmares or similar.
But then again, the Sun or the Daily Mail rarely do "perspective" anyway.