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Saturday 14 April 2012

Don’t Mention The Airport

[Update at end of post]

The continuing campaign by the brazenly partial Standard to cheer for occasional London Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has learnt well from the template laid out by the likes of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse). And the latest lesson taken on board has been not only to selectively bend facts to fit the agenda, but also to ignore stories that are of inconvenient nature.

Where's the story, Sarah?

So readers of the London Daily Bozza were yesterday given yet another Livingstone bashing banner headline dreamed up by the City Hall duo of Peter Dominiczak and Pippa Crerar – two more hacks you wouldn’t want to get stuck in a lift with – while the paper totally ignored the news coming from the CEO of NATS, the air traffic control service.

The reason for this calculated omission was not just that the original story had been run by the deeply subversive Guardian, but that it made Bozza look less than saintly. NATS chief Richard Deakin had looked at the proposed Thames Hub Airport, the latest manifestation of the Boris Island idea, and concluded “The very worst spot you could put an airport is just about here”.

He went on: “We're a little surprised that none of the architects thought it worthwhile to have a little chat”, so it seems that Norman Foster and his team didn’t bother asking the people who look after the country’s air traffic control before deciding where to plonk their super new airport. And that’s before considering the thousands of birds, and the SS Richard Montgomery.

Indeed, putting an airport on the proposed site would place it in the approach path for every London airport bar Gatwick, and impact on movements in and out of Amsterdam’s Schiphol complex. This would not be an impossible set of criteria to satisfy, but it would be “challenging”. And opening such a hub would mean closing Heathrow, with house builders no doubt slavering at the prospect.

But the 70,000 displaced workers might not see the closure quite that way. Whatever the outcome, though, this is an issue that the Standard would rather not be discussed this side of the Mayoral election, and so it has decided to deflect attention elsewhere. It is not alone: the Telegraph, Express, Mail and Sun are also silent on the latest news.

Thus the burial of bad news continues. Don’t look over there, just vote Bozza!

[UPDATE 16 April 1030 hours: Pippa Crerar has stated on Twitter "think the story broke after our deadline" and that this is "not an issue we've shied away from in [the] past", to which I make two rather obvious observations.

First, the Standard has still not even mentioned this story - nothing on the website right now - and Ms Crerar's cite for previous copy is from 2010. I'd be more convinced if she and Peter Dominiczak were holding Bozza to account right now, which they are not.

Credit to her for replying, but that reply is not at all convincing. No surprise there, then]

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