How the Express misrepresents the story

Today, the Daily Express is running with HOW MIGRANTS SNATCHED OUR HOMES.

At first glance, the story appears to be the latest in the “immigrants steal our…” range. Such previous works include ”immigrants steal our jobs” and “immigrants steal our fish” and so on…

However, the story is actually about two Lithuanian families that appear to have been tricked into thinking they’ve legally rented properties that are already occupied.

The Mail broke part of this story yesterday as Pensioner takes dogs for walk… and returns to find locks changed and a family living in his home, but the Express article leads with another, similar occurrence not mentioned by the Mail.

Both scenarios occurred in the same area of Barking so one might be forgiven for finding the Express’ headline a tad hysterical and overblown.

Remember, while you’re reading this first paragraph from the Express article, that the Lithuanian family have been tricked into thinking they’ve rented the place:

A GANG of Lithuanian squatters is behind a terrifying scam in which people’s homes are seized and locks changed while they are out, it has emerged.

This paragraph is flat out misleading. By saying that the Lithuanian family “is behind” the scam, the Express are trying to imply that it’s the family themselves that are orchestrating the whole business.

The sheer horror of coming back to find your house occupied by someone else cannot be denied, but it must not be forgotten that the “squatters” here are victims too.

Why did the Express run with “HOW MIGRANTS SNATCHED OUR HOMES” and not “DODGY ESTATE AGENTS RENT OUT OCCUPIED HOMES” or something similar? And why did they initially try to imply that the Lithuanians were behind the whole scam?

The PCC has already decided that newspapers can more or less say what they want in their headlines, but the Express should at least be held to account for that first, misleading paragraph.


Filed under Media and journalism

3 Responses to How the Express misrepresents the story

  1. So, there is a dodgy estate agent scamming people in Barking, but the Express decides to point the finger at the victims of the scam. Nice.

  2. Anonymous

    At last someone is picking them up on this! The nearly 3 million combined readership of the Mail and Express (not to mention the various far-right blogs which use their stories) have been foaming at the mouth about this since yesterday morning but not even the usually excellent Tabloid Watch has made the point that the "home snatchers" have actually been conned by a very English estate agent.

  3. Don't pick on the estate agents! You might cause house prices to drop further, and that's the REAL horror story, after all. Isn't it?

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