Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pest Control Needed On Oldham Hall Street


Have you seen any yet. Oh come on, you must know what I'm referring to. Surely you must. Oh, OK, if you really don't know, I'll tell you. Liverpool is under attack from giant rats. No, really, it's true. Sunday's Oldham Echo said so & if it's in the Oldham Echo, that's good enough for me.
Wait, what's that? Sorry, but it isn't true, & there was I about to commend Oldham Hall Street on another spectacular journalistic scoop. Larry Nield in Liverpool Confidential breaks the news as gently as he can (http://www.liverpoolconfidential.co.uk/News-and-Comment/Liverpool-mutant-super-rats-Ham-and-High ):
"But wait: Could this be the same super rat that appeared last year in popular London newspaper the Ham&High, with the headline 'Giant rat discovered under dishwasher as bins overflow onto streets'?
"It could indeed, taken by householder Adrian Whitaker who caught and killed the rat in his West London home."
Mr Whitaker is understandably puzzled as to why his picture appeared in the Oldham Echo. Moreover, as Larry Nield notes, the story was picked up by the national media (broadsheets as well as tabloids) & then went viral on the web.
There must be a simple explanation for this tale of imaginary rodents & their exponential growth. Larry, too, is baffled, but then chances upon the reality behind the rat story:
"So where has it all come from?
"Similar mutant super rat stories have been popping up in regional papers across the country. It seems it is down to a PR puff promoting a commercial rat catching business, Whelan Pest Control, quoted extensively in the rat tale."
The Oldham Echo picking up PR pieces & reporting them as news? Perish the thought! What is the world coming to?
There is a further twist in the (rat) tale. Larry observes that the Echo "claimed the rat was caught in Liverpool by Sean Whelan."
Mr Whelan may well be baffled by the assertion in the Echo piece (penned by Neil Macdonald, the poor bugger) that he caught said rodent in Liverpool, particularly because he is based in Southampton where he is managing director of Whelan Pest Prevention Ltd (http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/sean-whelan/14/182/66a ).
You won't be surprised to learn that Oldham Hall Street has taken the rogue rodents story off its website. Additionally, it has (sort of) admitted that the entire story was false (http://www.holdthefrontpage.co.uk/2014/news/echo-admits-it-was-deceived-over-giant-rat-picture/ ).
A Trinity Mirror spokesman frantically attempts damage limitation:
"We were deceived about the picture of the giant rat. We were led to believe that it had been taken recently on an industrial estate in Liverpool.
"It has since become clear that it was taken in another part of the country. We will be clarifying the position with our readers on Sunday."
Those familiar with the Oldham Echo's modus operandi may question the claim that it was "deceived". Furthermore, many may well be puzzled why Oldham Hall Street will wait until Sunday before "clarifying" the issue with its (declining) readership.
The Oldham Echo's "journalism" has often been dismissed as belonging in the gutter. It would now seem that it has relocated to the sewer, alongside the vermin.

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