The Sunday World is known for its sensationalist, inaccurate and often utterly ridiculous content.
Such is the levels of incompetence of some of their reporters, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) referred it to professional standards in 2020 following the case of Matthews and McCann v the Sunday World.
There have been too many howlers to recount, but today there has been two classics for the collection.
Let us start with the front-page sidebar. They have an exclusive interview with the ‘vulnerable resident’ at the centre of the incident involving Bangor Protestant Boys.
So far, so good. We turn then to page 6 and 7 to be treated to this Exclusive content.
We find out from the bold sub-headline that the ‘vulnerable resident’ is now living in fear, and from a quick scan of the content of the article we find he now demands the authorities re-house him.
The plight of this pour soul requires more focused reading. The article provides some background. It reveals, in relation to the 12th July incident:
“After a recycling bin was thrown at the band, a drummer from the Bangor Protestant Boys Flute Band was allegedly caught on camera entering the front garden…”
Then, two paragraphs later the same article says: “it is also understood the bandsman may have been reacting to a commotion seconds before when a missile- believed to be a recycling bin- was allegedly thrown in the direction of the band.”
It seems they have provided two versions of the background to the incident. One in which they tell us as a matter of fact what did happen, and then one which tells us what it is understood may have happened. That their second version contradicts the credibilility of the first version, in which both versions allege the same thing, appears not to register with whoever was subbing the article.
Anyway, lets move on.
We then have the vulnerable resident Francis Lagan informing us how he “lives a quiet life.”
He states: “I just mind my own business and I like others to do the same.”
A tale to melt the hardest of hearts. But before publication, of course the Sunday World would have done some due diligence. A google search perhaps?
Unionist Voice has ‘exclusively’ typed Mr Lagan’s name into the freely available online search network.
It turns out the peaceful Mr Lagan has a somewhat colourful past. In 2016, it seems- according to UTV and Belfast Telegraph court reports- he was accused of imprisoning his mother, telling her he could “quite easily” kill her and smashing up a cooker during this incident.
Then in 2020, according to a news report in the Irish News, Mr Lagan faced criminal charges for robbing a woman, stealing her phone, knocking her two front teeth out and leaving her unconscious.
The Court was told Mr Lagan carried this attack out in front of representatives from a service for the homeless.
This howler seems to have ‘bin a bit of a nightmare’ for the limited credibility of the Sunday World.
But we have more.
As part of the obsessive pursuit of loyalists, the publication target Mr Edward Mcllwaine. A former loyalist prisoner who has served his time and integrated into the community.
The ‘crime’ Mr Mcllwaine has committed is to celebrate his culture walking in his Orange lodge. I need not point out the disparity of treatment in the media between loyalist and republican ex-prisoners. That bias is no longer even seriously in dispute.
However, back to the exclusive article on Mr Mcllwaine. The Sunday World report this ex-prisoner was ‘release’ (I presume they mean released) in 1983. They then go on to reveal that he was subjected to a murder attempt a year after his release from prison…which the Sunday World exclusively reveals took place in 1991.
I do not think there is anything further to add.