‘Could Spider-Man become a reality?’ asks Mail Online

For some reason the Mail Online editor has filed this article under ‘Science’: ‘Could Spider-Man become a reality? Bizarre white cobweb found on nuclear waste that could have come from a ‘mutant’ spider’.

The article – remember Dacre today telling the Leveson inquiry that the Mail employs some of the finest journalists around – reports that:

In a freakish echo of the Spider-Man comic strip, workers at a U.S nuclear waste facility discovered the growth on uranium last month.

In what way is that ‘a freakish echo of the Spider-Man comic strip’? Sadly, it gets worse. First of all, the Mail explains what has been discovered:

Experts from Savannah River National Laboratory collected a small sample of the mystery material to run tests.

A report filed by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board – a federal oversight panel – concluded: ‘The growth, which resembles a spider web, has yet to be characterised, but may be biological in nature.’

The report said the initial sample of the growth was too small to characterise, and that ‘further evaluation still needs to be completed’.

Then the Mail steps back into childish fantasy:

he bizarre growth will stoke fears that nuclear fuel can cause Frankenstein-style mutations.

It echoes the plot of Spider-Man, where Peter Parker becomes a superhero after being bitten by a mutant spider at a nuclear waste laboratory.

Whilst a image caption claims:

Web of intrigue: The discovery means mutant spiders, like the one that bit Peter Parker, could become a reality.

And to think that Paul Dacre genuinely believes his newspaper group does serious, decent journalism and is prepared to argue his case under oath.


  • hannanibal says:

    What the fuck did I just read?

  • I always hated the phrase ‘frankenstein-style mutation’. Frankenstein’s monster wasn’t a mutation at all. So does he mean a mutation in the sense that it’s not a mutation at all. Like ‘Daily Mail-style journalism’ maybe?

  • notjarvis says:

    I fantasise about an alternate Daily Mail spoof which reprints all the pieces with a question in the title, but changes the body fundamentally
    e.g. For this one
    ‘Could Spider-Man become a reality?’

  • Rich says:

    “Proud” of the MailOnline, “proud” of “quality journalism.” I think it’s worth just repeating that, for as long as is necessary.

  • Beelzeboogie says:

    “It echoes the plot of Spider-Man, where Peter Parker becomes a superhero after being bitten by a mutant spider at a nuclear waste laboratory.”

    Gah, wrong! The Spider wasn’t a mutant it was merely irradiated and died a few seconds later, and it was at a public science exhibit and had nothing to do with nuclear waste. The mail don’t even do their research with fictional characters!