By Barry Duke • 21 August 2020 • 12:58
AT the beginning of August the UK’s Daily Express carried this clickbait headline: ‘Brits ‘scared to go out’ as local beach resorts turn into ‘Benidorm on steroids’.
It was a report about large crowds converging on Cornish resorts, and the apprehension locals felt about huge influxes of strangers.
The paper said: ‘Speaking to the BBC Claire Harris, a 37- year-old St Ives’ resident, said she’d banned her children from the town’s harbour and main shopping areas due to the number of people. She claimed the influx had left her “too scared to go food shopping” for fear of picking up the virus.’
The report itself contained no mention WHATSOEVER of the popular Spanish resort, so why was the word ‘Benidorm’ used in the headline and intro in such a gratuitously offensive manner?
Editors of British tabloids need to be called out each time they portray Benidorm as the ‘bad boy’ of Spanish resorts. Heaven knows there are thousands who care passionately enough about the manner in which it is portrayed to challenge this sort of negative reporting.
I know that such people exist because I am one of them, and on numerous occasions have blasted off emails berating news desks for false or negative reports about the place that I love.
I also know that anger can be badly misdirected. For example Euro Weekly News last week found itself under attack on social media after it carried a report about the latest Covid-19 measures being implemented in Spain.
The report – headed ‘Spain Set To LOCKDOWN Friday September 18 with Three Phase System closing borders with France and Portugal’ – was instantly dismissed as ‘fake news’ that would only serve to worsen severe economic downturns in Spanish resorts.
Such was the anger over the report that one enterprising local even began advertising ‘boycott EWN’ t-shirts and face masks!
The idea that a paper would deliberately print fake news to harm the economy of a country in which it operates is beyond ludicrous.
If fury has to be expressed – and I really believe that it does – it should be directed at the bureaucrats who, right now are playing us like fiddles by arbitrarily introducing new Covid-19 regulations, and insisting on moving the goalposts every few hours or so.
This sort of game playing has in the past and will continue in the future to perplex both journalists and the public. Confusing briefings by government officials can only result in the inadvertent spread of misinformation at a time when clarity is most needed.
All this confusion has to end soon if any shred of sanity is to be rescued from the wreckage of 2020.
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