There are multiple versions of events, multiple opposing “truths”. The police say 80 dead. Some residents still say 200, 300, maybe 400. The council says it is offering good quality accommodation, most of it in Kensington and Chelsea. Tenants say they are being pushed out of the borough, fearing rent hikes when the promised period of grace is gone. Again and again, the bereaved say they are being left in the dark. There is no communication. They scream for answers. Yet we are told that every family has a family liaison officer or social worker if they want one. There has been a string of meetings now with myriad authorities but few seem satisfied.Well, no.
Because when you have people who'd rather believe the most outrageous 'facts' in preference to anything else, they can never, ever be satisfied, as Longrider points out.
As we at Channel 4 have filmed in the area, people have driven by, shouting “parasite” or telling us to “fuck off”. Then, during a recent debate one of the tenants began shouting: “Where is the media? Where has the media been?” And social media offers up powerful stories. A man posts that more than 40 people have been found dead in one of the flats and no one is reporting it.Because, like the reports of 400 people dead, it's clearly bollocks.
But wait. You're the media. You're professionals! Why are you giving credence to rumours from social media?
We try to stick by the rules – find sources, establish facts. But those rules don’t seem to apply. Our facts look like we’re taking sides. The police statistics and detailed information of how they’ve come to their death toll seem, for now, to add up. The Labour MP David Lammy repeats the story of the flat crowded with bodies on Newsnight. So is it true? Are we missing it? We can find no evidence.It's David Lammy, FFS! If he announced that the sun was going to come up in the morning, anyone with half a brain would Google it, just to make sure!
Another compelling post says one former resident is being forced to take housing in Preston, Lancashire. It’s categorically denied by the Grenfell Response Team set up to deal with the crisis and we can’t find the tenant or anyone who knows them. Yet Emma Dent Coad, the new MP for Kensington, speaks about it in interviews and it makes headlines in the papers and is dangerous currency on the ground.Then do your job and start reporting on the way the left-of-centre politicians are seemingly intent on whipping up a mob, instead of publishing endless stories about what someone's cousin from the office saw on Facebook about Grenfell Tower!
It's no wonder people are starting to lose any sympathy they one might have had...
...in one of the many practical mistakes of the relief effort, residents were forced to spend their days traipsing across town to get the help they needed, to get the Oyster cards, and passports that will allow them to start living again. Now they must do the phoning to chase a home or, more chillingly, to get the information about what is left of their loved ones on the ninth, the 15th or the 23rd floor. Still, what are they complaining about?What, indeed...