A website operating in Warwickshire has been found to have thousands of news stories published on its pages – yet authority figures have endorsed it.
The site, which calls itself the “Coventry Telegraph”, appears to operate by publishing stories about recent events. It is unknown whether the ‘news’ section of the site is correctly labelled.
People browsing onto the website are greeted with fare such as “Rubbish collections cancelled as bin men strike over suspension of colleague”, “Coventry City goalkeeper Reice Charles-Cook not fazed by critics” or even “Over 1,200 rifles and shotguns for sale in Warwickshire on gun website“.
It is not known who the shadowy figures are behind the “Coventry” website, though at the top of the last mentioned story it says “Ben Eccleston” and at the bottom of the page it says “© Trinity Mirror Midlands“.
Authority figures appear to have endorsed this website by agreeing to have their names, faces and quotes attributed to them appearing on it. For example, Ron Ball, Warwickshire’s elected Police and Crime Commissioner and a Labour party member, appears to have told the website’s shadowy operators: “I don’t think you’ll see anyone going out with one of these expensive guns to commit a robbery.”
Gun Trader attracts more than 400,000 visitors and over 5 million page views per month.
People who use the phrase ‘not news’ get right on UK Shooting News’ author’s wick. However, this is one of those rare cases where it is right to say ‘not news’. What next, “Thousands of cars advertised for sale on car website”?
The premise of the Coventry Telegraph story is pretty transparent. Ron Ball, despite his surprisingly sensible remarks, is well known for his anti-shooting stance. Today being a slow news day, it’s fairly simple to get a known loudmouth to spout off with a quote about “dangerous guns on our streets” or whatever. To his credit, Ball seems to have realised that “guns for sale on gun website that says you need a gun licence to buy from it” is a total non-story, and so gave the Telegraph some very sensible quotes that draw the sting from the story.
Nice try, pisspoor execution.