Friday, 10 August 2007
This will be my final potshot at the Sun over its absurd shark stories but I just can't resist posting something about the Sun's story turning out to be a hoax.
The video that sparked this whole thing was of a Great White shark, the only problem was that it was not in Newquay but Johannesburg. The film was taken by a night club bouncer while on holiday in South Africa, he sent it into the Sun as a joke, not expecting it to be taken seriously.
According to the Guardians report into the incident: "Newquay townsfolk seem to have thought the story was nonsense from the start. For one thing, the water looks mirror-like and it is usually choppy off north Cornwall. Nor did the angle look right if the shark had really been 100ft (30 metres) away.
A Newquay lifeguard, Paul Benney, said he had smiled because he had known Mr Keeble had just returned from South Africa. "He also has really bad eyesight so I laughed when I read he saw it from 100ft away. We have had a few kids a bit scared about sharks here but we told them not to worry. You are in far greater danger of being hurt by a weaver fish than a shark, he said."
I doubt that the Sun will mind being duped given how well its shark editions have sold but should the rest of us?
Some people have expressed concerns about the fear of shark attacks will drive away tourists. The Google searches that have led people to this site would support that. Nervous individuals are googling questions like: "how often do sharks attacks happen in the UK." However, I suspect that provided surfers don't start losing limbs that the fear this story has caused will pass.
What is has given us is a response next time the Sun runs a story about 'Gypsy beggar camps in Romania' or something similar, the voices of reason will have a perfect response: 'Oh and I suppose there is a Great White shark in Cornwall.'