Since the accident on the Smiler rollercoaster at Alton Towers, the tabloid newspaper Daily Mirror has become obsessed with the theme park.
Virtually every opportunity of a negative story about the attraction has been seized upon to the maximum extent.
Since the serious accident on 2 June, the Mirror has reported routine and expected ride stoppages as notable incidents in a typically sensationalised manner.
This week, a standard stoppage on the Air rollercoaster was covered with a dramatic account of how riders were left “face down in mid air” – which is actually a description of the normal ride position.
Days after the Smiler incident, a technical problem which caused the Thirteen rollercoaster to close temporarily was given full exposure by the Mirror.
Today it reported on how a self-styled ‘ghostbuster’ has claimed that the park is haunted and cursed.
Since the collision which injured 16 people, the Mirror has relentlessly covered a series of non-stories relating to Alton Towers.
But what has caused this hell-bent obsession with the park?
Firstly, while the Daily Mirror is often perceived as a politically left-leaning newspaper, in reality it is more a mere pro-Labour, anti-Conservative and anti-Sun – it’s rival tabloid – newspaper.
It is that rivalry with the Sun which may be responsible for the Mirror’s attitude towards Alton Towers.
Merlin Entertainments – who operate Alton Towers – have had a commercial partnership with the Sun for a number of years.
The most notable output of this pairing is an annual giveaway of free tickets to the park.
The Sun seems to avoid unnecessary coverage of Alton Towers, possibly due to this commercial relationship.
The Mirror will also be all too aware of the vitality and subsequent traffic its Alton Towers articles have enjoyed since the Smiler accident.
Online advertising also provides a key source of income for the Mirror, whose physical daily circulation has been in decline for a number of years.
The creation of as many Alton Towers articles as possible is certainly in the Mirror’s interest and is unlikely to stop in the short term.