“Muslim plot To Kill Pope,” screamed The Daily Express last Saturday. And, urged on by police leaks, the rest of the press joined in.
They all reported that six Muslim men had been arrested after cops uncovered an Al Qaida assassination plot.
According to the papers, terrorists “disguised as refuse collectors” were on their way to blow up the Pope.
In fact, the extent of their plotting was that, over a cup of tea, one of the men was overheard saying, “It would be pretty difficult to shoot the Pope, wouldn’t it, as his car is bullet-proof?”
Another then said, “Yeah, but I bet an RPG (rocket propelled grenade) would get through that easily enough.”
The group laughed, before changing the subject. That was enough for armed police to raid the depot and the homes of the six men.
No weapons were found and the men were later released without charge.
But instead of a front page apology, the Express managed only a begrudging six lines on the workers’ innocence—buried on page nine.