Adver fact, fantasy and hysteria

It’s not the first time that the Swindon Advertiser has used sensational headlines to report incidents allegedly related to fast food outlets. However, today’s offering is more devoid of fact than usual. The headline:

Burger brought teenager close to death

The opening paragraphs:

ROBERT Dobie munched on a burger during a visit to Swindon… and it almost cost him his life.

A few days after eating the snack, the 13-year-old from Marlborough had a stroke and went into a coma with a rare form of e-coli.

The statement reported from the council:

The bacteria were identified as the harmful e-coli 157 strand, but we have been unable to confirm the source because of the individual’s varied eating history during the onset period. We are happy that there is no further risk to Swindon residents.

Presumably the boy ate at a variety of places just before he went ill. To single out just one of those seems a blatant attempt to whip up hysteria.