Sunday, 31 January 2010

Express Columnist Admits To Not Checking Facts

Last night I went out for a night out with my old Borders compadres. It was pretty fun, as these things go, but I made a terrible mistake. We went to Lau's Buffet King on Stowell Street, and I ate far too much MSG-laden Chinese food. I loved it. Sweet & sour pork, cantonese chicken, spring rolls, egg-fried rice, lemon chicken...mmmmm. Yeah, I enjoyed it. Until the MSG gave me horrific indigestion and I had to go home early.

I sometimes think the tabloid papers are a bit like cheap chinese food in that respect. You decide to read one, you enjoy it for a bit, until suddenly it makes you sick.

I was a bit bored this afternoon; I'd just finished watching the England-Ireland rugby game and was toying with what to do, and I found myself flicking through a copy of the Sunday Express, where I found this gem of an article opening from Julia Hartley-Brewer:

'When I heard that a Jobcentre had banned an advert seeking "reliable and hardworking" staff because it would discriminate against unreliable and lazy applicants, I didn't bother checking the date to make sure it wasn't April Fool's Day. I knew it would be true.' (emphases mine)

This annoyed me, because, after seeing Michael Portillo trot this same already-hoary old chestnut out on This Week this thursday, I'd tweeted my opinion that I would bet the story had already been disproved. It took Megan Lucas from Feels Like Going Downhill less than five minutes to inform me that the story had already been disproved, by Tabloidwatch,  here.

It wasn't just the date which Hartley-Brewer couldn't be bothered to check. Less than five minutes' research would have turned up the fact that this particular story was just another crock of 'political correctness gone maaaaaaaaaaad' nonsense.

That amused me. And then I thought, hang on. She's done less research on that column than I do on a typical blog entry. And, as a newspaper columnist, she probably gets paid more money than I earn in a week (well, she definitely does at the minute, 'cause I'm unemployed; but even when I go back to work at my new job next week, I'll wager she'll still be earning more money than me).

And that, reader, is the point at which the Express fail which I found so LOLsome turned on me, and left me feeling sick.

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