Mon Jan 21st, 2013 at 10:00:23 AM EST
Today the Sun managed to publish a dose of rabid Tory wankfantasy. An article that managed to hit just about every single point in Benefit bingo.
East European Imigrant
There was only one small problem, anything more than cursory examination of the story and it instantly smelt funny, and so the internet went to work and found she was an actress.
Zelo Street: Super Soaraway Benefits Story Stitch-Up
As if in a perfect storm, the Murdoch Sun - always on the look-out for anyone it can smear as a "scrounger", as well as single mothers and anything EU related - has hit the jackpot: a Lithuanian single mum who is living on benefits, and who appears not to be fussed about it. And she's going on holiday to Malaga. And she buys "designer clothes". And we're paying for it all.
Zelo Street: Who Set Up The Sun?
As I pointed out earlier, the Sun's supposed "exclusive" featuring Lithuanian actress Natalija Belova presses all the right buttons: EU bashing, benefit scrounger exposing, and crafty foreigners who come over here and, er, work part time while bringing up a three year old daughter. But, as must have been obvious to anyone checking out the story, the Murdoch hacks did not just stumble on her.
Now this is interesting for several reasons, It could be a sign that the cut-price replacement for the News of the World is running into the same problems as the other papers at the tabloid end of the market. Cost cutting is now leading to a lack of proper checks and newspaper production has become even more of a sausage machine than it was beforehand. As a result we will see a larger number of stories stolen and recycled between papers and PR firms without even cursory checks.
On the other hand it could be that the paper is now producing stories that it thinks will place itself in a good position with the government, re-enforcing the voters prejudices so that instituting the Leveson recommendations will seem impossible.
The thing to watch will be the next few days issues of the other papers. It was a constant point brought up during the Leveson Inquiry that the newspapers had failed in their coverage in the time between The start of Phone hacking and The Dowler article in the Guardian. This failure to cover the misdeeds of each other was an apparent declaration of Omerta between papers. Will we see any coverage of such a prime example of newspaper dishonesty?
In other countries, that a reporter had been discovered writing an article that backed the governments position dishonestly using an actor this would be seen as worthy of mass sackings up the editorial chain, endangering the freedom of the press as the paper was interfering dishonestly in the process of government. Freedom of the press isn't freedom to make the news up.
You would think at the very least the BBC's News department would be all over this like a rash, getting in a few sneaky blows in revenge for the recent Savile coverage, pointing out that there biggest competitor's relationship with the truth was somewhat sketchy.
But will the other papers comment?