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Paper Monitor

11:13 UK time, Monday, 5 February 2007

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Men in hooded, white boiler suits, gloves, masks, goggles – the image on the front of today's Daily Telegraph can only mean one thing: we're all doomed. "Bird flu: it's here to stay" runs the headline.

"Online – are you afraid of a flu pandemic?" Er, well, all the messages over the weekend had been there was no reason to panic, but now Paper Monitor's picked up the Telegraph, yes. Getting more petrified by the paragraph.

Inside, the coverage takes a more reflective tone, across a double page spread. "Hour by hour, the grim task of stopping the outbreak from spreading went on." Gulp. Picture of a lowered security barrier with the word "STOP" and smoke rising in the distance. Double gulp. That's it, time to head for the bio-security shelter. Just a few moments to check the other front pages and digest just how hopeless things are.

The Daily Mail: no mention of bird flu on the front. Daily Mirror and the Sun ditto. The same goes for the Independent – not even mention of the perils of all that superfluous turkey packaging.

Hold on. At least the Daily Express seems to have grasped the Doomsday essence of this story: "Bird flu: So is it safe to carry on eating chicken?"

Pah, it's tinned food, bottled water and waiting for the "all clear" siren to sound from here on.

The Guardian does at least lead with the bird flu story, but its headline has none of the urgency or alarmist tone of the Telegraph. Inside, its leader notes: "The [mass slaughter] should contain the present outbreak."

Maybe that subterranean shelter can wait a day or two.

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