Friday, April 20, 2007

A rather obvious plant

In the run up to elections one of the tried and tested journalistic endeavours is to plant a young hack into a political party's campaign office. Get them to work their as an unpaid intern and then, in the days running up to the election blow the gaff. This normally shows up the incompetence and naked greed for power of the party and causes no little amusement to readers while creating acute embarrassment for the dupes. Well as a local election special it appears that the Sunday Telegraph have attempted to do just that.

But this time they used Tom Harper on their political team. Sadly for them he failed the subterfuge test which has resulted in him being fed a pack of tales, tall and otherwise. He arose suspicions from the off, suspicions confirmed when having told the UKIP press office he was 22 when he started he invited only a few days later to his 25th birthday drink. It was only today that the source of the sting was verified. Previously it had been thought he was a Tory plant, but he foolishly called himself Jack Harper when dealing with UKIP, but forgot to change his answer machine message. Oh yes and he forgot to use his fake email address, leaving an electronic paper trail a mile wide.

One has to admire the Sunday Telegraph's reporting of the growing political phenomenon that is UKIP. This year they have written story after story attacking the party, culminating only last week when Melissa Kite ran a story in which they quoted a Tory press release that had lied about the number of candidates UKIP were running on May 3rd - without bothering to phone up and check her facts.

Funnily enough I was talking only yesterday to Richard over at EU Referendum, where he bemoaned the act that these days there was so little proper investigative journalism. The sort that would allow a journalist to work on a story for weeks on end in order to fully comprehend a story, but instead they were focussing on short time, quick bang cheap buck stories. It seems that in the case of the Sunday Telegraph, they will do it, but only to attack a threat to their beloved Tories.

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