The Mail On Sunday has brought a mixture of anger, ridicule and sheer dismay down upon it today after running a story that was so contrived, cynical and spiteful that it went beyond even that paper’s low standards. “No ID, no checks... and vouchers for sob stories: The truth behind those shock food bank claims” thundered the headline. But it was the “undercover reporter” who generated the blowback.
Who're you calling a f***ing sleazebag, c***?!?
Ross Slater is pictured under the headline “How MoS Reporter Got 3 Days Of Groceries ... No Questions Asked”. Yes, there were so few questions that he was asked his name, date of birth, address, phone number and the reason for his visit. The food bank’s assessor then “asked our reporter a series of questions about why the food bank vouchers were needed”.
So the article is, let us not drive this one around the houses too much, a flagrant pack of lies from beginning to end. And Slater helped this process along very nicely by joining in with the lies, or he wouldn’t have secured the £40 worth of groceries that he is pictured showing off. Nor do we find out whether the food bank might have sent the authorities after him at a later date had he not handed it all back.
The response to this plainly nasty sting has been derisory: “NEXT WEEK’S MAIL ON SUNDAY EXCLUSIVE: How fire engines turned up at our reporter’s home when he reported a fire that DIDN’T EXIST” was one. “In tomorrow’s Mail, as our reporter is given a full course of chemotherapy after faking cancer, we ask is the NHS wasting taxpayers’ money?” was another.
One Tweeter mused “I’m kind of heartened by that food bank story. Even undercover journos can get groceries. Helpful given so many of them will soon be on [the] dole”, while another returned to the theme of cynicism: “That charity helped us when we lied and told them we were the exact person they were trying to help! The HORROR!”, and then someone looked at Ross Slater’s Twitter feed.
This has been deleted during the morning, but one resourceful soul got a capture of one Tweet Slater sent at the time of the 2012 Olympic Games. Sent to someone called Phil Parkin, it reads “Been asked by Mail On Sunday to locate rarely seen pix of [a] young Jess Ennis. Told you are the best hope, can [you]? Ross”. A phone number is helpfully provided for Parkin to tell Slater where he can stick his request.
Have a think about that. The nobly intentioned Ross Slater, fearless Mail On Sunday reporter, has not only lied through his teeth to half-inch £40 of groceries from a food bank, he is also adept at soliciting photos of little girls. And there I was thinking that the MoS wants to expose such people as sleazebags and wierdos. Or perhaps it’s all about being selective and just flogging a few more papers.
High principles and Northcliffe House never do seem to go together, do they?