What to do with a story that needs that little something extra to catch the readers’ eyes? That isn’t a problem if the paper is the Daily Mail, where those readers have routinely been fed a diet of frighteners about most aspects of modern life. So the hack – in this case Nick Enoch (is that for real?) – just drops in the magic phrase “elf and safety fears” to wake the punters up.
The piece, on the removal of the last of 29 aerial dishes from the BT Tower, is – surprise, surprise – nothing to do with health and safety. The dishes have become redundant as the transmissions they once put out now use fibre optic cable. So where is the health and safety concern over that? Well, the dishes were in a poor state of repair, so there was a potential risk to the public at ground level.
No, the only health and safety angle is to do with the workers taking the dishes down. As one of them told the Mail, “It took a long time because we have to be so careful nowadays with health and safety – these are huge dishes floating above people’s heads in a busy area”. They certainly are huge, weighing 450kg each (note the Mail abandoning Imperial measurements here).
But hardly worth the headline “Last aerial dish from iconic BT Tower is removed due to ‘elf and safety fears”, is it? Especially as it wasn’t.