After the Kerslake Report was published yesterday, giving its assessment of the events following the Manchester Arena bombing last year, the Daily Mail was in particularly righteous mood. “'Those first aiders had to play Roman Emperor by saying who lived and who died': Manchester bomb victim slams 'offensive' report criticising response of emergency services saying it 'does not come close to the truth’” it ranted.
What's so f***ing wrong with a bit of blagging, c***?!?
There was more. “A survivor left paralysed by the Manchester Arena bombing has slammed a report into the work of the emergency services following the terror attack … Martin Hibbert, 41, who was closest to suicide bomber Salman Abedi when he detonated the explosive, said Lord Bob Kerslake's probe was 'offensive' to both victims and survivors … He said the review offered 'no answers to anything’”.
So the report was rubbish, and so was Vodafone: “Vodafone slammed over 'complete failure' of phone system … Vodafone are under fire over the failure of a phone system set up to assist in the event of terror attacks”. And the Fire service: “First responders have been criticised over the chaotic reaction to the bombing as it emerged firefighters were not on the scene of the terror attack for two hours”.
So why is the Mail so keen to trash the Kerslake Report and point the finger at problems with the response of the emergency services? Ah well. The part of the report that the paper is not covering tells you all you need to know about that.
Under the heading “The Experience of Families with the Media”, we soon discover why the Mail should have a problem with Kerslake’s findings. “Following the attack a large number of media, both broadcast, print and online, came to Manchester. In the course of its interviews with families of the bereaved and with those who were injured, the Panel received some strong feedback on the how some of the media had played their role … Most participants who commented on their experience of the media in the attack aftermath were negative. People talked about feeling ‘hounded’ and ‘bombarded’”.
It got worse. A lot worse. This is a selection of quotes from family interviews: “The whole family felt ‘hounded’ by the press … They sneakily took a photo of my sister when we were getting the news … Press and TV journalists went to her school and phoned the hospital pretending to be from the police … I spoke to someone on the phone posing as a bereavement nurse … The most distressing part was the press making statements up … They ... lifted photos and stories from his Facebook page … One tried to push his way into the house, put his foot inside the house to try to get in”.
Subterfuge with no possible public interest defence. Intrusion into grief. Abuse of privacy. Lying. Aggression. And, worst of all, blagging - something they claim they no longer do.
Small wonder the Daily Mail is trying to deflect blame and divert attention this morning. The Kerslake Report has shone a light on the press’ behaviour and discovered that nothing has changed. It’s still the same unprincipled, uncaring, shower.
The Mail just admitted being part of that bad behaviour. Shame on you, Paul Dacre.