Some eyebrows were raised when the Sun took Nick Parker back into their employ even after he had been convicted of handling stolen property, that being a mobile phone belonging to a Labour MP. Then-editor David Dinsmore “said he was pleased to announce Parker’s return. And his email underlined that the paper would be sticking to a pledge to consider similar cases involving arrested staff”.
Nick Parker - handled stolen phone
This magnanimity has also, it seems, extended to Parker being given carte blanche to criminalise others, especially if they are on the Sun’s hate list. So it was that Parker’s name appeared on the by-line of “GYPSY PLANE BRAWL Shocking moment huge travellers fight erupts at 30,000ft as Ryanair passengers feared ‘they could bring the plane down’”. Ah, no Muslims today, so it’s Scary Gypsies (tm).
Anyway, do go on. “Terrified passengers said a stewardess was slapped in the face during the confrontation … A HUGE fist fight at 30,000 feet forced a flight to land almost 900 miles from its destination”. But where were all those “Gypsies” the headline promised? Er, maybe they weren’t: “The brawl, between a number of passengers believed to be gypsies, saw an elderly woman hit in the head while a stewardess was even slapped”.
Perhaps we can see some evidence ponied up to support this headline? Maybe not: “Maltese software engineer Tommy Engerer captured the incident on camera … He recounted the moment the fight broke out, saying the chaos took 10 minutes to control … ‘They were attacking everyone around them and one of the men even slapped a stewardess in the face … It was chaos for about 10 minutes until there was an announcement that the plane was being diverted and passengers managed to restrain them with belts’”. But what about all those “gypsies”?
“‘They looked out of control as if they were on drink or drugs and the cabin crew did well to bring the situation under control … They were eastern European - gypsy types - but spoke a bit of French as well and were incredibly aggressive … We were all glad to see the back of them’”. So there were no gypsies confirmed as being involved.
All we have is a flight from Brussels to Malta - so very few, if any, Sun readers will have been involved - diverted to Pisa after four blokes who may have been in the airport bar rather longer than was advisable kicked off mid-flight. The Commander requests Police assistance at Pisa Airport, then the rozzers come aboard and nick them.
Let’s be honest about this, Murdoch doggies, the only reason this story was published is because someone used the word “gypsy” and someone in the Baby Shard bunker saw the chance to dabble in a little racist stereotyping. Worse, as the headline is not supported by the body of the article, this is a blatant breach of the IPSO Editor’s Code, Clause 1: Accuracy. But as the ones being smeared are foreign, they probably won’t complain.
So the Sun will get away with another act of incitement, perpetrated by another bent journalist. Welcome to the wonderful world of the Dirty Digger.