I’ve come across another example of appalling journalism in the reporting of the election in Luton South. This time from the ‘News of the World’ so I shouldn’t be that surprised, but is it too much to ask that they get the basic facts right?
The article in question is here: ‘Battleground UK: Paul McNamara in Luton South’
I am only guessing here, but from the looks of it Mr McNamara, who is their ‘defence correspondent’, did a quick Google search for some background, jumped on the train to Luton, spent an hour or so interviewing Esther and a couple of local residents, jumped back on the train to return to London, and then wrote up his article without bothering to check his facts.
I will ignore that no mention at all is made of the Liberal Democrats, a ridiculous thing to do given the political situation in Luton, and take a look at what the article does mention.
It starts with Esther Rantzen and Margaret Moran, which is fair enough. But then;
“Thanks to a TV career spanning 45 years most of the national attention regarding Luton has focused on Esther.”
No, most of the media attention has focused on Esther.
“But her win is far from in the bag.”
You don’t say.
The article then goes over the Moran scandal and contrasts that with Esther;
“Champion fundraiser Esther is saintly by comparison.”
Esther’s plans to bring a theme park to Luton then get a mention. This is a somewhat ridiculous proposal, although it is not the first time that Esther has mentioned it, yet in the article it isn’t really questioned.
Finally, someone else gets a mention;
“Both the prospective Labour and Conservative candidates believe the city’s future is more dependent on Vauxhall – the town’s biggest employer – rather than the next EuroDisney.”
I very much doubt that they do believe that. I certainly hope not. Because of course, as anyone with a passing acquaintance with the economy of Luton would know, Vauxhall is not the town’s biggest employer and hasn’t been for a long time.
The decline of manufacturing in Luton, the decline of Vauxhall, the fact that we no longer make cars in a town built on the motor industry and the politics associated with that is not something I will get into now. Let me just say that the biggest single employer is now Luton Borough Council and the key provider of employment in the town is London Luton Airport and its associated industries. Facts which, for anyone unfamiliar with the town, are easily obtained with the briefest of research.
This annoying example of lazy journalism is bad enough, but then you have to despair when the article gets the name of the Conservative candidate wrong. It is Huddleston not Hoddleston.
This content was originally posted on my old Strange Thoughts blog.