Thursday 29 July 2010

The hunger striker and the imaginary burgers.

(Hat-tip to MacGuffin.)

There is, very occasionally, a price for churnalism, albeit one that won't make much (if any) material difference to the Sun. Without bothering to check whether the Daily Mail's original article claiming that Parameswaran Subramanyam had eaten burgers while conducting a public hunger strike in Parliament Square was accurate, something the Metropolitan police had apparently picked up on "specialist monitoring equipment" which they had trained on him, a "Staff Reporter" merely repeated the allegations.

It was strange in the first place that it was almost six months later before the police suddenly decided it was time to inform the press of what Subramanyam had been doing, supposedly having decided not to confront him at the time for fear of starting a riot, and at the same time as the cost emerged of policing the Tamil protest outside parliament. Surely it would have made a much better story much nearer the time of the demonstration? Indeed, why would the police decide to provide someone else to focus the blame on for the "excess" cost? It couldn't have been something to do with what the Mail described in the article as an "overtime bonanza", could it?

However the fantasy came to be implanted in the mind of Mail journalist Stephen Wright, it's one that's cost the paper £47,500 in damages, while the Sun has agreed to stump up £30,000, with both also having to pay Subramanyam's legal costs. As he was represented by Carter-Fuck (sorry, Carter-Ruck) that definitely won't have come cheap. Was copying and pasting and slightly altering the text really worth the wages of a junior hack for a whole year?

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