It’s been a fact of life for the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker ever since Geordie Greig was appointed editor of the Mail on Sunday that, on several well-publicised occasions, that title and the Daily Mail offer opposing takes on the same story. Sometimes the daily title puts out a spoiler to trip up the Sunday, but today it has been the other way around, as the MoS has left its daily stablemate covered in rather more than confusion.
Who f***ing says I'm losing my grip, c***?!?
At the heart of today’s clear attempt to raise the anger and blood pressure levels of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre is the story of “explorer” Benedict Allen’s recent visit to Papua New Guinea. As the BBC has reported, “A search was mounted for the 57-year-old after his family said he had not taken planned flights home … Mr Allen was travelling on his own to try to find the reclusive Yaifo tribe, whom he first met 30 years ago”.
Sounds dramatic. And the Daily Mail certainly thought so. Soon, the Beeb was telling readers that Allen’s agent claimed “‘Benedict looks forward to being reunited with his family and friends but will need some time to get back to full health,’ the statement added. ‘He would like to send thanks for all the kind messages he has received’ … Mr Allen's wife, Lenka, told the Daily Mail: ‘It is such a relief. I'm so happy, it's amazing’”.
The Dacre doggies wanted the world to know that Allen was a modern-day hero: “he has eaten his dog to avoid starving in the Amazon, been shipwrecked canoeing to Australia, been shot at by drugs hitmen, sewn up a chest wound in Sumatra with a boot-mending kit, trekked more than 600 miles in the far east of Russia during the worst winter in living memory, and even more impressively still, survived sharing the bed of Jerry Hall”.
Geordie Greig, Mail on Sunday editor
They also wanted the world to know that It Was The Mail Wot Rescued Him. “Explorer Benedict Allen begged his wife’s forgiveness as the Mail rescued him from the jungle yesterday … Weak from malaria, the veteran adventurer had become trapped between warring tribes in one of the most remote spots on Earth … After the Mail found the father of three yesterday and handed him a satellite phone to call his wife Lenka, he told her: ‘I’m so sorry I’ve put you through this, Linky’”. And then came the MoS spoiler.
After the Guardian sensed disquiet at Allen’s antics by telling “Benedict Allen allies defend rescued explorer against backlash … Supporters deny disappearance in Papua New Guinea was a PR stunt”, the MoS went for their sister paper’s jugular. “The helicopter pilot who airlifted Benedict Allen from the jungle of Papua New Guinea has played down the explorer's ordeal, saying: 'He didn't really need rescuing’”. Do go on.
“Craig Rose, who has flown in the country's mountainous central highlands for 12 years, said the TV adventurer had been well cared for by tribespeople and appeared to be in no danger when he was found … To the surprise of the helicopter crew, Allen filmed himself and the helicopter as it circled a remote mountain airstrip where he was waiting to be picked up on Friday. The crew waited for an hour as the explorer posed for pictures with villagers before his evacuation. 'He was lapping it up,' said Rose”.
Expect Paul Dacre to go on one of his frequent holidays, in order to calm down and avoid the possibility of simultaneously combusting at his own editorial conference, very soon. The Robert Mugabe of Fleet Street should have retired when he turned 65.