AT LEAST 91 REPORTED DEAD IN OKLAHOMA TORNADO.
I would expect hyperbole from the fringes of the press fraternity, but this one was bold front on BBC News’s website on Tuesday morning. Indeed, when the beloved awoke, I told her that number. After all, you trust the BBC to deal in facts. Supposition is for all those commercial sorts and their sordid motives.
The beloved turned over to that unimpeachable source of balanced news, Fox, for the US take. They were reporting 51 dead. Fox sent the reasonably tolerable Shepard Smith down to Moore to report on the tragedy. Needless to say, the number was inaccurate.
24. A dreadful tragedy, heart rending, the power of nature sweeping us aside as if we were mere midges. “600 times more powerful than Hiroshima” the Mail sensitively reported. Yeah. A really lovely comparison, that one. Who comes up with this?
It’s this sort of slack reporting that really annoys me. Hyperbole on max, facts to be made up, numbers tossed in to full effect. 24 hour news channels need to keep the story fresh, but in doing so, they create fresh air in the story.
And then yesterday….
For a meaty story there were mighty slim pickings. A man who may or may not have been a member of the armed forces, who may or may not have been a serving member, was hacked to death by two men outside of Woolwich barracks, with motives not clear and ethnicity not precisely defined (witnesses referred to Black, rather than Asian, which might have been a clue). We have a graphic, violent human incident and only eye-witness testimony as everyone else seemed rather tight-lipped about it. Truly, there wasn’t a lot to go on, but it was the only story in town. In 24 hour news cycles every word, as insipid and meaningless as they all are from our woeful political class, or from our police services (that o in police is getting more silent by the day. Seems the word is pronounced pleece these days) is reported. We have it covered live, and in case you missed it, the newsreader repeats it verbatim about 10 seconds after. We should rename the networks “Goldfish News”.
As the night went on, and nothing new came about, we had to wait for “statements” from Theresa May, and their fancy, schmancy COBRA briefings. Patrick Mercer, about who I have heard stories, rather nailed things on the head when after the obsequious Keith Vaz spouted shit awful platitudes and got his moosh on the telly far too often, said on Radio 5 Live, when asked if Parliament should be recalled, replied “No. All we’ll have is posturing when what we need is for the security services and the police to do their jobs”. Note – Parliament rose at the end of last week, and is deigning to return on 2 June. How’s that “hard working families” mantra sitting with you at this time? I await Carswell’s tiresome Queen’s Birthday crap this weekend while him and his fellow MPs are allowed time off for a fortnight barely 6 weeks after going back to work. If Parliament is recalled, getting back to it, then there’s a nice little extra expense they can claim, and not for them “actuals”. They are so worth a 10% pay rise.
We now have a name leaked of one of the supposed perps, but as we also know from the Boston Bombings, leaking of the wrong name is very, very possible. We now know that the man killed was a serving member of the armed forces. And all the rest is the 7/7 meme put into action – make sure the Muslim voice is heard condemning it. Put down all contrary voices, whether peaceful or not. Control the narrative, not the situation, as frankly, what is there to control?
Incidentally, mid-afternoon yesterday, BBC Security correspondent Frank Gardner said his security sources had indicated that the intelligence services did not have any information that could lead them to consider this a terrorist attack. Within a couple of hours that had changed. Because, it appears, senior cabinet ministers designated it as such. I’m baffled. Either Gardner is clueless, and I doubt that, or something odd is going on.