When a paper runs the kind of “exclusive” that its competitors don’t enthusiastically follow up, it’s clear that it may well not be much of an exclusive. And when it’s the Murdoch Sun, and the author is the paper’s alleged “Westminster Correspondent”, the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole, a known fabricator of no known self-awareness, the thought enters that someone close to editor Tony Gallagher may come to regret not spiking it.
Someone missed ADVERTISING FEATURE off that one
So it is with today’s front page lead, as readers are told “Fry-Up Brits Rejoice … THAT’S SAVED OUR BACON … Rashers free of cancer chemicals”. This may look like a typical fun Sun splash, but in reality this is shameless advertorial copy, promoting a product from one firm that the vast majority of bacon consumers will not be going near any time soon.
Of course, in his usual inimitable style, Master Cole manages not to disclose this inconvenient fact to the Sun faithful, instead telling “Revolutionary bacon rashers free of cancer-causing nitrates hit Britain’s supermarket shelves thanks to technological breakthroughs”. This is total crap. The product hits Britain’s supermarket shelves thanks to the firm involved bringing it to the marketplace. But there is more.
“New Naked Bacon does not use potentially harmful chemicals during the curing process which can increase risk of bowel cancer”. So now we are told that this is a specific niche product, and not all bacon. Indeed, it will most likely not register as more than 3.5% of total bacon sales and consumption at best. Still, details, eh?
But do go on. “In 2015 the World Health Organisation warned there were significant increases in the risk of bowel cancer from eating processed meats such as bacon that traditionally have nitrites added as they are cured … UK sales plunged 11 per cent the following year as worried shoppers bought 25.4 million fewer packs of bacon”. No, sales declined as bacon became more expensive and less fashionable. And on the Sun’s figures, the new wonder bacon will cost twice as much as typical supermarket bacon.
One step nearer the exit, eh Tone?
How about owning up that this is advertorial? “Naked Bacon, produced by Northern Ireland food firm Finnebrogue, will be available at UK supermarkets from next month”. That’s as close as Master Cole gets to ‘fessing up to his deception. But he does have real MPs (allegedly) to sing the praises of this new product.
“And yesterday MPs and scientists hailed a breakthrough that could save the bacon sarnie - Britain’s much-loved hangover cure [hangover cure? F*** right off] … Tory Neil Parish, Chairman of the Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee [actually only one MP] said: ‘It’s a remarkable feat of food technology and a brilliant British success story … UK firms like Finnebrogue are producing some of the best food anywhere in the world’”. Yes, it’s advertorial. And pass the sick bucket.
Advertorial, used to back up the pretence that Britain is better than all those rotten foreigners and will beat the world at just about everything once we are free of the hated EU. Shameless propagandising. Selective disclosure so the readers think it’s news. And underneath it all, dishonesty about bacon. Which is just becoming less popular.
If the best the Sun can manage is to get Master Cole to cobble up advertorial, perhaps the time has finally come for Tony Gallagher to go. That would provide real seasonal cheer.