Benefit brain-washing courtesy of Murdoch
While visiting relatives this weekend, I had the misfortune of reading the Sun on Sunday. I should have known better really, but it was there and it was the only paper available. They get it out of the habit which was the News of the World.
Even I wasn’t prepared for the level of evil, distortion and manipulation contained within. Not being a regular reader of such right wing propaganda sheets, I was left angered by the obvious bullshit spread across the front page about a supposed immigrant living off the state. It had more holes in the story than Blackburn, Lancashire circa 1967. But as we know, those on the right seldom let facts get in the way of a good yarn that suits their bigoted agendas.
We’re not going to link to the Sun website on AFL, so you will have to find the story yourself, if so wish.
The Sun followed up the story today with an ‘investigative’ piece on the estate in Rochdale, which has become a poverty pin up for right wing know-nowts as a ‘wellfare ghetto’. The article finds several people on benefits, living off nothing, yet slating other benefit takers for living the life of riley. With no evidence or factual backing whatsoever, as usual. The only facts in the article are the amounts the people they speak to are struggling to live off.
The right wing media have played a blinder with this – even those struggling on benefits themselves have been brainwashed into believing the myth of millions of scroungers enjoying lives of luxury on benefits. Which is factually and actually impossible.
Having survived on the dole and with housing benefit myself, many years ago, I can vouch for how difficult it is. And that was before the latest moves to make things even harder for the genuine poor.
There are always going to be people on the fiddle, whatever the situation. Even during World War Two there were people making money out of beating rations while avoiding call ups to the army. But they are a tiny minority. This has been brilliantly distorted by the Tories and their backers in the media for many years. It is most likely to be their central vote-winning policy at the next election. It is at best a rank distortion at worst an out and out lie.
It was a pleasure to read the following article this morning, however, which backed up many of my thoughts from yesterday about the immigrant story. It was also heartening to see that there are people out there capable of questioning the shite they read and making their own minds up, based on actual facts:
As if in a perfect storm, the Murdoch Sun – always on the look-out for anyone it can smear as a “scrounger”, as well as single mothers and anything EU related – has hit the jackpot: a Lithuanian single mum who is living on benefits, and who appears not to be fussed about it. And she’s going on holiday to Malaga. And she buys “designer clothes”. And we’re paying for it all.
Except that, when this supposed “exclusive” is subjected to a little factual analysis, we aren’t paying for all of it, and the “immigrant” in the story has been in the UK for the best part of eight years. We know this as Natalija Belova’s CV is available online (hat tip to @chunkymark via Rich Peppiatt). And from that CV, we then discover that Ms Belova is an actress.
Add to that the usual deliberate mistake in the Sun story, asserting that Ms Belova’s “Weekly Cash” includes the Housing Benefit that is paid directly to her landlord, and the mention that she has three credit cards, on which she is at present making a minimum monthly repayment, and her other skills – such as the six languages she speaks, four of them fluently – and the picture starts to change.
The taxpayer didn’t fund her trip to Spain (which, given the availability of low cost air travel and the time of the year she went, may not have been so expensive anyway), it didn’t fund her trip to Lithuania recently, and it isn’t funding her wardrobe. The only item of interest in the story is that working less than 16 hours a week but then moving to a full time job can mean the loss of benefits. Like we didn’t know.
But what Rupe’s downmarket troops have done – and, as Rich has said, it’s inconceivable they did not Google her name and find out who she was – is provide a free promo for a savvy actress to showcase herself, while getting paid to read from the Sun’s approved anti-EU and benefit bashing script. They didn’t just stumble over Natalija Belova by accident.
Meanwhile, the comments below the article, though at a particularly low level of linguistic competence and geo-political awareness, are as the Sun would want, baying, frothing, ranting, xenophobic, hateful, and above all indignant. But the story is a cheap and crude pre-prepared and scripted stitch-up, and the Murdoch press should come clean and explain themselves.
Not that they will, of course. Working for Rupert Murdoch means never having to say you’re sorry.
Further reading – another article with even more facts dismissing the Sun stitch up: http://liberalconspiracy.org/2013/01/20/the-reality-behind-the-suns-hatchet-job-on-lithuanian-benefits-scrounger/