Not many people in my real life know about this blog, and I write it under an anonymous pseudonym. Trying to right injustice anonymously and secretly, taking little personal credit for my actions - it's a bit like being a superhero but with less kung fu, jumping off buildings and tight-wearing. Well, less of the first two anyway. (Thanks very much, I'm here all week...birthdays, weddings, bar-mitzvahs...).
One of the people who do know who I am and what I do on this blog is my brother-in-law. The other day he mentioned a study that showed how immigrants don't jump housing queues and how it was getting a lot of coverage in the news. He thought papers like the Mail would have to admit the existence of a study that contradicts its line, since it had been covered everywhere else. That should at least be encouraging, right?
But wait! My Crackers-sense started tingling! "No they don't," I said, "They'll either ignore it or take some out of conext quote to make it look as though the report says the opposite." So imagine my lack of surprise when I saw that the report, which had been publicised by a press release headlined 'Research finds no bias in allocation of social housing' had been reported by the Mail with the following headlines:
'One in ten state-subsidised homes goes to an immigrant family'
'How ten per cent of State housing is taken up by immigrants'
depending on where you look on the Mail website (brought to you by James Slack's sidekick, Steve Doughty).
The second link is the best, as it includes a shocking picture of an estate with - brace yourselves - black children playing outside, and this lie:
The first estimate of the impact of immigration on social housing means nearly 400,000 homes have gone to tenants who were born abroad.The first, eh? I must have imagined an almost identical report I blogged about last year that the Mail just as dishonestly misrepresented under the headline 'More than a million immigrants live in homes paid for by the taxpayer'.
The interesting addition to this year's coverage is the publication of an article by Sir Andrew Green, 'At last, the truth about immigration and council house queue jumping' a few days earlier to prime readers by planting the idea in their heads that 'the truth' is that immigrants do actually jump housing queues before the study was published. That's a pretty common Mail tactic when the paper anticipates potentially positive studies or statistics about immigration.
Anton, Uptonothing, MacGuffin and No Sleep 'til Brooklands all have proper coverage about the dishonesty of the Mail this time, so get yourself over to those places for more detail about the actual story.
For now all I want to do is moan about how crap having a Crackers-sense is. If it was a proper Spidey-sense, it'd have started tingling, and then Paul Dacre would have smashed through the window with his robot arm and we would have had a stand-up, drag-out brawl across London with him swinging lamp-posts and smashing cars until we ended up atop the London Eye. I'd finish by turning a dodge into a kung fu kick that launched him into the Thames before quipping, 'It's time he cleaned up his act,' just after he thrust his forehead forward to attempt his special 'I'm not racist butt'.
As it is, all I did was have a cup of tea and roll my eyes when I saw the Mail's coverage. You don't even need special powers to know the Mail's going to distort positive news about immigration. It's like having a super power that allows you to eat your dinner.
I've got that one, too.