Bad Journalism: it’s not just a game

In moments of existential crisis, I often wonder if there’s any point in constantly cataloging the excesses of our delectable tabloids. This blog seems to be doing rather a lot of it. Even the Fantastic Headlines series, which I initially started for a bit of fun, has started looking at the sinister spin behind ridiculous headlines. One of the voices  A voice in my head often keeps saying, “it’s the Mail/Sun/Express, what do you expect?” It just seems to be a way of getting my blood pressure to rise and a fast-track to a coronary.

But something can come along and remind you that this is a worthwhile thing to do. So thank you, The Daily Star. On Wednesday a story on its website that has since been taken down, but can be seen here, reported that:

FURY erupted last night over plans for a Raoul Moat book, movie and game…[sic] before the man he killed has even been laid to rest…

last night gaming websites showed the cover of Grand Theft Auto Rothbury.

The Daily Star also quoted the grandmother of Samantha Stoppart, Moat’s former girlfriend who he shot.

It is sick – it’s blood money. The game is beyond belief.

Indeed it is. It seems that there’s no evidence that this game is being made whatsoever. The only “proof” is the mocked-up cover, which is an obvious photoshop job.

Is it likely that some random guy from the internet got bored and shopped up a GTA Rothbury cover? Sure. But the “gaming websites” allegedly promoting the new game seem to be in remarkably short supply outside of the imagination of Daily Star writers.

The story has since been pulled, an apparent acknowledgment of the fact that some lies go too far even for a site as notoriously trashy as the Daily Star. But it doesn’t appear too anxious to give up on such a juicy story; the headline and the fake GTA Rothbury cover are still plastered on the Star’s main page, at the top of the “Most Popular” stories list.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the journalist responsible for the story has “rebutted” claims he made it up on his Facebook page. Remember that this man is paid to write for a living:

Baffled by the fury of adult gamers. These are grown (?!?) men who sit around all day playing computer games with one another who’ve today chosen to enter the real world just long enough to complain about my story slamming a Raoul Moat version of Grand Theft Auto! You would think I’d denied the Holocaust!!! Think I’ll challenge them to a virtual reality duel….stab….I win!!!

This man apparently thinks nothing of making up a story on completely spurious grounds, and then go to the still traumatised relatives of the victim for a quote. What a cloaca [warning: link contains rude words].

It’s worth repeating that: our newspapers are now making stuff up for no reason whatsoever, just to provoke reactions from people. And the proprieter of the Daily Star has now seemingly bought Channel Five.

It might take a while, but the more that people complain; the more that are aware of our sinister press; perhaps eventually things will change. It’s like water dripping on a stone; it’ll take time, but if we keep shouting and shout lout enough, they can’t get away with this for ever.

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4 Responses to Bad Journalism: it’s not just a game

  1. Hannah says:

    The Star is completely shameless when it comes to printing out and out lies. See this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWqvWFUj51k at about three minutes in, where they photoshopped an old photo of Jade Goody, removing her hair, for a story when she was dying of cancer. Or there’s this example http://www.septicisle.info/2008/04/madeleine-never-ending-story.html, where they castigated “muslim sickos” for something that, not only half the internet was doing, but they themselves lost a lawsuit for.

  2. Pingback: Five Star apology « Paperback Rioter

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