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Thursday, February 28, 2008 

Scum-watch: Maddieballs returns and so do the immigrants eating our swans.

Just when you think it's safe to look at a tabloid newspaper again, Maddieballs emerges from out of nowhere! This might well be the most pointless, potentially slanderous article to have appeared in the Scum for some time:

A TAXI driver claimed yesterday that Madeleine McCann was in his cab the night she vanished — with suspect Robert Murat.

Antonio Cardoso, 67, insisted he took the little girl and four adults on a short journey to a hotel where they all switched to a Jeep with foreign plates.

And he said of Murat, who was named by Portuguese police as the first suspect or “arguido” in the case: “I later recognised him on television. I am sure it was him."

Damning, isn't it? There's just one problem with this story:

Last night Maddie’s parents Kate and Gerry, both 39, were in shock over Cardoso’s claims but rejected them as “entirely wrong” because of timing inconsistencies.

Yep, that's right, it's complete and utter bullshit, as the taxi driver claims he had Murat and Madeleine in his cab before Madeleine had actually gone missing. For perhaps any other journalist or newspaper, this would have meant that there wasn't a story, that the guy is a crank and that it should never have gone before the first draft stage. Not in the Sun though, where the story continues for another 350 words, giving the space to the driver's story even though it's completely and utterly wrong. This story was featured on the front page - while Shannon Matthews is still missing and getting hardly any of the same attention still given to Madeleine.

Similar journalistic skill was involved in the headlining of the report of trial of Thomas Hughes for the murder of Krystal Hart. Hart just happened to be blonde, 22 and as the Scum headline says, "pretty". Presumably if she'd instead been 55 and slightly wrinkled the paper would have put that in the headline and also given it the same amount of space.

Meanwhile, the Sun has resurrected the most hoary of old tales, that of asylum seekers and immigrants cooking and eating our swans. While there have been a couple of cases that have reached court, the Sun on this occasion actually seems to have acquired something approaching "evidence" that swans have been eaten, or at least killed; the story features photographs of what certainly looks like a swan carcass, although this doesn't tally with the "piles of swan carcasses" the article describes, or "pile of swan wings piled" it also mentions. As both Enemies of Reason and 5cc point out, there's no evidence, despite the fact that there were individuals apparently camped out there that it was the work of immigrants, unless you're willing to jump straight to conclusions. The Sun leader column notably doesn't say it's the work of immigrants, merely "vagrants". It does however say this:

The Sun first revealed in 2003 how the graceful birds were being butchered and barbecued by migrants living rough.

This would presumably be the same story which the Sun had to clarify after an investigation showed that large parts of the story, if not all of it, were completely bogus.

Elsewhere, David Wilson, presumably the same David Wilson who wrote this tosh in the Grauniad last weekend on the murders in Ipswich, writes a suitably vague and lacking in any real insight whatsoever piece for the Sun today on Mark Dixie, Steve Wright and Levi Bellfield. Among his thoughts are:

The seemingly “normal” facts about their lives — that they could drive and hold down a job — are exactly the things that helped them to become successful killers.

The three men were all able to maintain sexual relationships with women and have children.

However, all three had multiple relationships.

Part of their anger at women seems to have come from the fact these came to an end.

...

You will often find that there is evidence of a minor sexual offence in the personal histories of serial killers.


If you wanted to be really cliched you could also say that they might have tortured or killed animals in their childhood, but no one seems to have looked that far back as yet.

Oh, and finally, there's yet another fake photograph of a UFO which various "experts" jizz over.

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