On Sunday, the Guardian covered the recent threat to our forests posed by excessive wild mushroom foraging:
The article begins by saying:
The fashion for collecting wild mushrooms began with celebrity chefs such as Antonio Carluccio, and has been encouraged by those with a revived interest in local food, such as Jamie Oliver.
This year’s wet summer and mild autumn has produced bumper crops of colourful wax caps, common ceps and luscious chanterelles.
But this new generation of foodies and foragers are beginning to trample the forests and fields that feed them – as well as many animals and insects, warn those who look after the UK’s woodlands and nature reserves.
Today, the Mail is also covering the story:
The Mail’s article starts with:
It’s a traditional hobby brought back into fashion by trendy celebrity cooks like Jamie Oliver and Antonio Carluccio.
But now the apparently innocent pastime of mushroom picking could be threatening the countries’ woodlands, conservationists say.
Foraging for exotic mushrooms in woodlands has become a favourite activity among middle-class ‘foodies’ eager to mimic the recipes of celebrity chefs.
Now, can you guess how the Daily Express is covering the same story?
Yes, that’s right. It’s those pesky migrants again.
The Express’ version of events, written by Dan Townend (who, worryingly, is a journalism lecturer at Kingston University London), kicks off as follows:
GANGS of East Europeans and amateur cooks inspired by TV chefs are stripping a forest of its valuable mushrooms to the horror of locals.
Notice the use of the word “gangs” there. According to the Express, Eastern Europeans can only go anywhere and do anything in “gangs”.
The Express’ bizarre scapegoating of immigrants in particular in this story is later made a mockery of with this paragraph:
Picking mushrooms is a part of life on the Continent but, traditionally, it has not been something Britons have taken to. Yet with TV chefs extolling the virtue of the free food, locals have joined immigrants in stripping the forest.
So, the migrants have simply been picking the mushrooms along with their British neighbours.
The way the Express has twisted this story into yet another immigrant-bashing article is utterly and totally shameful. Neither the Guardian nor the Daily Mail mentioned anything about Eastern Europeans or migrants of any kind.
One would be forgiven for thinking that the Express wanted its readers to be more angry about the story because migrants were involved…
If the Express’ inherent discrimination towards immigrants wasn’t clear to see at first, surely it is now.