Thursday, November 22, 2007

Private Eye on Daily Mail ‘Parking Poles’ scam


After someone contacted me from the magazine, this week's UK's Private Eye [no.1198] has printed the beatroot story about how low the Mail will go to get a ‘story’ (see here).

Most of Private Eye is off line, but their journalist Adam Macqueen sent me the text to show you, which appears in the ‘Street of Shame’ section:


Back in April, Daily Mail investigations editor Sue Reid had a problem. She knew that foreign visitors who committed traffic offences in Britain were not being penalised because parking and speeding fines cannot be enforced on cars registered overseas - but she needed photos to demonstrate it. What to do? Simple! She set out to entice someone to break the law on the Mail’s behalf.

“I am overseeing an investigation into how foreign drivers in Britain are evading fines,” she wrote to Peter Traczewski, who lives in Warsaw. “We want to prove it by having a foreign car here with a foreign driver for five days and driving/parking in London, Kent, East Anglia and Portsmouth. We would hide your identity and the number of the car when we publish the piece, which would be lots of pictures of the car in various situations and my story about what we found. Obviously, if you do get a ticket we will pay it immediately. We will pay you £800 and we will pay for you to come over. If you wish to have accommodation in London itself then please do stay at my house in Fulham, London, which has five bedrooms and very central.”

Sadly for Traczewski, he was denied his free holiday when Reid emailed to tell him another Polish couple had beaten him to taking up her generous offer. Sadly for Reid, Traczewski is actually a British blogger known as Beatroot, who put full details of her methods up on his blog last month.

Thus far, the Mail has failed to print any story about Poles evading parking tickets.

If you missed how the story developed then see what Sue Reid said to the Economist when they confronted her with the story.

Guardian prints something useful – shock!

Well, it had to happen one day. What journalist Tim Dowling has done is collect together the type of stories that much of the British press has been full of since Poland and others joined the EU in 2004.

Under the headline, “They come over here...” the stories claim that (deep breath):

Eastern Europeans are catching all our carp; take all our benefits; steal our unwanted clothes; eat our swans; cause a shortage of £50 notes; increase unemployment; increase bad service in restaurants; when they are not driving down wages they are drive drunk and cause lots of car crashes; grope women; fill the UK with cheap guns and heroin;...and are responsible for the rise of the far right in the UK (sse article here).

Really, you couldn’t make this crap up (although British journalists don’t seem to have any trouble doing so).

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I LOVE the anti polish propaganda. We need our boys and girls at home in Poland.

THANK YOU ! BRITISH PRESS! (and that's no irony)

beatroot said...

That's a .... different perspective....

Jake said...

I thought I read my Private Eye from cover to cover every fortnight, but must have been dozing on the plane over to Warsaw last night - I completely missed that story!

beatroot said...

The Adam geezer told me it was in this issue. But I look on Private Eye's, basic, web site and it is not mentioned on the 'Street of Shame' section.

Private Eye office is famously chaotic, so maybe this is normal. Any complaints then write to:

adam.macqueen@private-eye.co.uk

Jake said...

No, it's there, but towards the end of the SoS section. I've got it in front of me.

If you'd like my copy to keep for your collection, you're welcome to it; I'm in Warsaw till Monday a.m., and live centrally (Politechnika). I'll email you my contact details.

Renegade Eye said...

It potentially could have been an international story. There are sections of the media, that solely cover media.

beatroot said...

Cheers jake

Harry said...

Who's this Traczewski bloke? That's not the beatroot I know!

beatroot said...

It's one of my aliaseseseses...