‘Bedbound pensioner dies after being gnawed by rats as scrapping of weekly bin collection leads to rodent infestation [istyosty.com link]’ screams the headline of a Daily Mail article attributed to The Daily Mail Reporter (no-one would want to claim credit for this article). The article claims that:
A bedbound pensioner who died after being gnawed by rats after her council abandoned weekly bin collections has died, it has been revealed…
Angry neighbours blamed the infestation on Reading Council switching refuse collections to a fortnightly pick-up but the authority denied this yesterday.
I love the insidious use of ‘it has been revealed’. It is such a wonderfully leading phrase, it invites the reader to believe what is written as fact because it gives the impression that all the Mail is doing is revealing a piece of information that had prior to this article remained hidden to the reader. It implies that the information is being passed to the reader without being tampered with: all the Mail are doing is showing you the information as they found it.
Of course, this is not the case at all, as readers who actually make it to the end of the article find out:
Council spokesman Oscar Mortali said… at this stage there was no reports of rats using bins as a food source.
‘There is no link between the move to weekly separated waste collections where householders follow the advice given to them and keep their refuse in closed wheelie bins’, he said.
As has been pointed out many times before: rats are unlikely to eat their way through a solid plastic wheelie-bin and if householders are responsible then fortnightly bin collections should have no impact on the food available to rats – even more so if householders have food bins as well which are tightly sealed and often have catches to prevent spillages even if a determined gang of rats worked together to tip one over.
Indeed, the council confirms that the problems seem to lie elsewhere:
Thames Water has been baiting and investigating its sewage network while the council was doing drainage work in the area this week.
Mr Mortali added: ‘The current evidence points to a drainage issue and that is where efforts are being focussed at present.’
But no, the Daily Mail are quite happy to directly link the sad death of a pensioner to fortnightly wheelie bins. When you can see so much evidence that the Daily Mail have no qualms about sinking to any level to pursue their agenda you can start to understand why the newspaper seems to be pretty keen that we all move away from the phone hacking scandal and the possibility that wider investigations of all newspapers will take place.
If this is the kind of distortion they sink to just to further their narrative on wheelie bins, imagine what tactics they use when pursuing narratives higher up their agenda.