The iron rule of press foul-ups is Never Look Back: always assume the readers have binned yesterday’s edition, they don’t have the attention span needed to call out flagrant hypocrisy and rubber-laying U-Turns, and keep them looking anywhere - so long as they aren’t looking at those foul-ups. So it was that the Daily Mail decided to blame the cops for the potential defamation peddled by sister paper the Mail on Sunday yesterday.
The MoS had all but told its readers that Paul Gait and his wife Elaine Kirk, who had been arrested and questioned by Police investigating the alleged drone activity that had brought chaos to London’s Gatwick airport, were the ones Wot Done It. In doing so, they demonstrated that they have learned nothing since libelling Christopher Jefferies, a sentiment echoed by media commentator Roy Greenslade in the Guardian.
That, though, was forgotten by the Daily Mail as it went for the cops. “Innocent couple held over Gatwick chaos freed after 36 hours … Now Police admit there may not have been a drone at all! CLUELESS”. And on it went: “The inquiry into the Gatwick drones debacle descended into farce last night … Police found themselves under fire”.
Not under as much fire as the MoS will be, once campaigning group Hacked Off have helped Gait and Ms Kirk in finding a lawyer to fire off a Letter Before Action. But Geordie Greig’s team are not easily deflected from their task - to keep everyone looking anywhere but at the incriminating MoS front page. So on they plough.
“As the culprit remains at large four days after the attack which grounded more than 1,000 flights and 14,000 passengers, police have been accused of failing to interview colleagues who could have vouched for the couple's whereabouts”. But you said “there may not have been a drone at all”, and if so, there wouldn’t be a culprit. And it’s 140,000, not 14,000.
But do go on. “Friends and family repeatedly insisted the pair were not the 'Eco-warriors' behind the attack”. Who said there were any “Eco warriors” involved? That’s an unfounded assumption which was first pitched by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog - a borderline Fake News operation. Oh dear, Mail people!
“As Sussex Police this afternoon confirmed they have found a 'damaged drone' close to Gatwick”. Well, if they have, then there was a drone, wasn’t there? Any chance of getting your story straight, Northcliffe House people? And any chance of not blatantly doxxing Gait and Ms Kirk? Because that’s what the Mail’s article and its photos have done.
“Officers from Sussex Police today remain outside the couple's detached house in a quiet cul de sac less than a mile from Gatwick's runway”. Accompanied by a photo showing a street name with a symbol confirming it is a cul-de-sac. And a detached house in the background, with a Police car outside it. Top doxxing, Mail people.
The effect of this that no-one, and certainly not a lawyer going after the goons who published the MoS front page yesterday, is going to be deflected. Indeed, by splashing yet more photos of the innocent couple and identifying their house, the Daily Mail has just dug the Northcliffe House faithful in a bit deeper. Plus their drone video may by iffy.
And if it is, the cops may be coming for them next. So they’re all in deep shit now.
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