To paraphrase Rock Bottom, the hard-hitting news show that appeared in one episode of The Simpsons, the media sometimes makes mistakes in its relentless pursuit of a scoop. If you think introducing a story by misquoting a show within a show that aired 20 years ago is a bit far-fetched, let me warn you; what we're dealing with here is even dumber than that.
Earlier today, the Mail posted an article about a benefit claimaint called Kamran Kam. Here's the kicker: Kamran isn't fat nor does he have a disability. In fact, he's pretty tonk, peeled to the bone and feels the taxpayer should foot the bill for his intensive training routine. Plus he's asian, a term which no doubt has a reactive effect on the paper's SEO visibility.
Here's what he told the Mail Online - and by Mail Online, who fish most of their content from paid-for news wires which aggregate local and international stories - here's what he told the regional reporter for god-knows-what tin pot rag.
"I’ve had all sorts of jobs...The problem was, all the positions were way too boring for me. Not only that, I wasn’t happy about paying taxes that go towards people who are sitting at home all day and making no contribution to society – especially overweight people who spend all their benefits on junk food and cigarettes. I, on the other hand, am extremely dedicated to my fitness, and I simply don’t have time to waste spending all day doing a monotonous job, so in November last year I decided to give up work altogether."
Mail readers were outraged. So outraged, that the Metro ran the story too. How could you not be outraged? The arrogance and entitled attitude of Kam beggar belief. But then, because you're a real human being who probably interacts with other human beings on a daily basis, you may notice that Kam's quotes seem a little far-fetched. I mean, who actually talks in a manner this provocative, not to mention in a tone so devoid of any empathy for an issue of such political and social sensitivity?
Why would you, in so many words, tell people that you are a cunt with big biceps and you demand the taxpayer fuel their growth?
This photo appeared on the Mail article and his actor's profile, meaning he gave permission for its use
An organisation called Justice4Jobseekers thought this too. So their crack team of investigators figured they'd find the real story on Kam. I'm assuming they just Googled him and found his imdb and agency profile in the top five results. Now he's not exactly Dwayne Fucking Johnson, but he's got a few credits to his name, and more than enough professional headshots to suggest he's not living on benefits alone. Hell, even if he is, you're entitled to claim them no matter the glamour associated with your chosen career path.
Damn son! Looking employed
As an actor, I'm sure Kam knows that all publicity is good publicity. Seeing as his agency profile now has over 11,000 views when this morning it probably had about one hundred, I bet he's pretty chuffed with his expert level of trolling.
Anyone who follows this site knows I can be guilty of chasing those delicious pageviews with snackable, viral lols, but then I like to think I'd never put up total bullshit. Depressingly, the demands of the 24 hour news cycle mean that BS can easily squelch through the net. And even when it does, the pageviews still come rolling in. The relentless pursuit of a scoop is still profitable if you step in a steaming turd right out of the gate.
Just remember, if it looks totally fucking stupid and incredibly fake, it probably is.