Brit Holiday Ruined By Refugees: Has The Daily Mail Set A New Low In Journalism?

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When you’re coming off a base known as ‘journalism’, the thought of setting a new low seems almost impossible.

But the Daily Mail has done it. And in spectacular style.

Here’s the headline from a story going viral overnight: “Holidaymaker misery as thousands of boat people from Syria and Afghanistan set up migrant camp to turn popular Greek island into ‘disgusting’ hellhole.”

And in true Daily Mail style, here’s some photos of some poor suffering white people having their holiday plans ruined by “straggly migrants” fleeing war and oppression.

The story has sparked a backlash on social media. The journalist responsible – Hannah Roberts – is also in the firing line.

She tweeted from her personal account (since deleted) “Anyone who knows the first thing about journalism knows that reporters never write the headlines.”

Roberts has retreated to that well-worn path of journalism cowardice – don’t blame me for the headline, I just wrote the story. And so here’s the story, in case there was any doubt about the manner in which this vile hack has disgraced herself and her profession.

“Boat people from Syria and Afghanistan and British holidaymakers have clashed on Kos – as migrants have turned the Greek island, popular with cheap package deals, into a ‘disgusting’ hellhole.

“As families – enjoying some summer sun with their kids during the half term break – relax on sun loungers on the beach, just a yards away scores of migrants have set up camp, sleeping on cardboard boxes with rubbish strewn everywhere.

“Anne Servante, a nurse from Manchester, had come to Kos expecting a relaxing break with her husband Tony, a retired plumber. “Instead her summer break has turned into a nightmare as penniless migrants who are in Greece to claim asylum sit outside their restaurant and watch them eat.”

You’d think it can’t get any worse, right? You obviously don’t know The Daily Mail, a ‘magazine’ that responded to the devastating cyclone in Vanuatu recently with a pap story about a tree blowing over in the backyard holiday home of Cate Blanchett.

Back in Kos, Hannah Roberts and the Daily Mail were just warming up. There’s this: “Straggly migrants straight from the boats march straight through the town with backpacks on to join friends and register for their travel permits at the police station.”

And this: “Barefoot toddlers in filthy clothes play among debris while moustached men sit staring out to sea as they plan the next stage of their journey to Athens and the rest of Europe – including some heading for Britain.” And this: “Young Afghan mothers in head scarves, changing their babies and washing their children’s clothes in the sea, share the promenade with tourists who sit uncomfortably on the beachfront.”

And this: “The harbourside has become an unofficial washing line with baby clothes and grubby-looking scarves laid out along the shoreline. Baby bottles and towels litter the area.” And there’s this: the links to the Twitter accounts of Hannah Roberts and the Daily Mail Australia.

These people crave attention. You should give them some.

UPDATE: The story is starting to go viral, as is the outrage on Robert’s Twitter account. She’s taken to inferring that the copy was substantially changed by Daily Mail editors (which is, of course, probably complete rubbish). New Matilda has offered to publish her ‘raw’ copy… we’ll keep you posted (but don’t hold your breath).

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Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the publisher and editor of New Matilda. He is the former founding managing editor of the National Indigenous Times and Tracker magazine. Chris has won a Walkley Award, a Walkley High Commendation and two Human Rights Awards for his reporting. He lives in Brisbane and splits his time between Stradbroke Island, where New Matilda is based, and the mainland.

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