This is the headline of a piece featured in the Daily Mail today:
Church fury over opening of McDonald’s on Christmas Day as Muslim manager is drafted in
Wow, “Church fury”, they must be hopping mad with this.
Here’s how the article begins:
Church leaders have hit out at a branch of McDonald’s which is to open on Christmas Day.
A Muslim branch manager has been drafted in by the fast food outlet to cover for the usual boss who is taking the day off and staff have volunteered to work that day for seven hours.
Well, if “church leaders have hit out” over this move, it must be very serious indeed and the frequently mentioned fact that it is a Muslim being drafted in, must in some way have exacerbated this ‘fury’. Right.
This Daily Mail article is a classic piece of Churnalism.
The original article began life in: This is Derbyshire and opens with this headline:
Turkey or Big Mac? McDonald’s to open for Christmas dinner
Interestingly, the This is Derbyshire piece begins with citing The Dean of Derby, Dr John Davies:
The news has been given a mixed reaction by leaders in the Christian Church.
The Dean of Derby, Dr John Davies, said he had “no argument” with the move.
“Mary, Joseph and the babe were lucky to find an innkeeper who helped them find a place to stay. He provided hospitality for them,” he said.
“Families and friends should come together at Christmas, and if they want to do that in McDonald’s then who are the Church to object?”
Hmm, that’s odd; didn’t sound all that furious to me? No mention of Muslims either.
On the other hand, the Daily Mail kicks off with comments made by the Rvd Wayne Stillwell:
Parish Rvd Wayne Stillwell said the decision to open the branch showed ‘the continuing decline of Christendom in this country’ and his reaction was ‘one of great sadness’.
He added: ‘I’m sad that we’ve got to this point in our society where something that means as much as Christmas seems to mean so little.
‘It shows the continuing decline of Christendom in our country.’
Rev Stillwell, of St Mary’s Church, Chaddesden, said: ‘Some people, who provide essential services, have to work on Christmas Day – but I don’t feel that those employed by a fast-food restaurant should be in the same situation.’
Again, not much in the way of fury; more ‘sad’ than anything else and strangely again no mention of Muslims.
OK, where to start? The first thing to note is that there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of evidence for “Church fury” or “Church leaders hitting out” does there?
Secondly, it’s worth noting that Rev Stillwell, of St Mary’s Church, Chaddesden, appears to be based on the other side of Derby.
To summarise, firstly, there is no “Church fury”; there are no “Church leaders hitting out”. Secondly, the Daily Mail deliberately swapped the order of the original story to emphasise and corroborate their spurious headline. Thirdly, was it necessary for the Daily Mail to twice highlight the fact that the replacement stand-in manager is Muslim; once emblazoned in the headline and then repeated in the second paragraph?
Does this strike anybody else as the Daily Mail twisting this story so as to create the image of furious Christians hitting back at ‘Islamic creep’ underming our beloved Christmas festival.
As I always say: It’s all in the phraseology, we paint pictures and connections in folks minds…..
Or am I reading too much into this?
Oh and by the way, I’m not dreadfully impressed with McDonald’s being open on Christmas Day, but there you.