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News Making Views Without Facts, A grave mistake?

Can you see what we did there?

Anyone with their head screws on knows that it’s always best to take what we read in newspapers with a pinch of salt. We are aware that large, tabloid newspapers are very clever with their language, for instance rather than a newspaper highlighting the unprecedented humanitarian crisis that is taking place at the moment, they refer to it as a plague, or an infestation, leading people of a more ‘vulnerable’ persuasion to think that our country is being hit with some sort of life threatening plague. When of course, what is really happening is that thousands of helpless civilians are being bombed out of their homes by the country we’re trying to ‘protect’ from a concept that doesn’t exist in the way that people think it does.

A lot of people are also aware that more often than not ‘bad news’ or news that can threaten the reputation of a politician is usually put into a Friday paper because statistically we’re all too busy thinking about the weekend to really give a crap.

These are just a few of the tactics that large newspapers use in order to sell. Last year there were more front page headlines about the weather than anything else, for no other reason that to make sales. The science didn’t really matter, the weather is a globally famous talking point for Brits so it makes perfect sense.

But what happens when local newspapers adopt similar techniques? For instance, in 2009 The Forest of Dean & Wye Valley Review put out a terrible front page article about the Boomtown Fair that took place just outside of Coleford that year. The article was full of inaccuracies, including simple spelling mistakes, all because they thought that they had a story. Although the newspaper never issued an apology to the organisers, they did publish an alternative article for the following issue. Sadly the issue is no longer available in their archives but I can tell you all more about it if you’re interested.

I’ve brought this up because yesterday I stumbled across this article that was posted on the Wales Online website. ARTICLE

Now, I think that vandalising a graveyard is one of the lowest things a person can do when it comes to criminal damage. Regardless of my lack of religious views, to me and to so many others a graveyard is a resting place for those who have departed. At first I was outraged, not only because of this disgusting form of vandalism but also because The Rhondda was home to the Welsh Revival and is just saturated in history of this great event. Churches are ample in The Rhondda, almost out-numbering houses and I absolutely love the history of it all and the community strength that it all brought.

But then I realised that the article had nothing to back-up why anyone thought that it was vandalism. The Police Constable Steve Davies is quoted saying “This incident is not typical of what happens in Ferndale and we are looking for any information to assist us in dealing with this incident quickly and robustly. We take these types of offences extremely seriously and will make every effort to find those responsible.”

So I started looking up examples of grave vandalism, first in general and then previous articles of it happening in and around South Wales. Go ahead, look it up. You’ll see a pattern, graves are often shattered as opposed to just toppled, tagging and spray painting goes hand in hand with vandalising a grave, but in the photos of the graveyard in Ferndale the graves have just toppled over. And look at the ground, it’s absolutely soaking. We’ve had what, a million gallons of rain a day for the past 20 years? It sure feels like it. The more I study these photos the more it looks like they just fell over because of the wet ground. So why is this article so confident that vandals did it?

I know that it must seem ludicrous to pick apart a news story like this, but I can’t help think that it’s been worded in a way that’s going to cause a breakdown in the community of Ferndale. Trust will deteriorate and why? because the paper said that vandals have done this, despite a complete and utter lack of substance to back it up. Not even a ‘Mrs. Jones saw some hooded yobs running away shouting, WE DID IT, WE KNOCKED THE GRAVES OVER!’

Nothing.

Maybe it’s the work of a trainee or apprentice who forgot some of the ‘deets’ because they were too excited to get a scoop?

If a shitty little article about toppled graves can’t be impartial and rational, how can you expect any other newspaper to follow suit?graves

About DukeofEarl (74 Articles)
Co-founder and author for The Shonk. Site administrator and general human.

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