web analytics

Media Sprays and Leaves.

Written By: - Date published: 11:25 am, May 5th, 2018 - 24 comments
Categories: International, making shit up, Media, Propaganda, rumour, spin, useless - Tags: , ,

Question. If I said that someone told me “x”, would you report that I was claiming “x” to be true?

That’s what the Guardian did in headlines just the other day.

Skripnals poisoned by novichok dose of up to 100g, watchdog says.

My initial thought was How do you get 100g of anything onto a doorhandle? After the first sentence, where the Guardian informed its readers that the nerve agent was in liquid form, I became positively non-plussed about that one. And by the third paragraph I’d dismissed the entire article as just more bullshit on the grounds that Üzümcü, the Director General of the OPCW (the “watchdog” in the headline), had merely relayed to the NYT that “he had been told” that 50 – 100g had been used. No indication was given as to who had told him that 50 – 100g had been used.

According to the date stamps on articles, it was much later the same day that a second article came out alongside the first one being amended. The second article was headlined – Chemical weapons watchdog amends claim over Salisbury novichok

Still no mention of who told Üzümcü that 50 – 100g of liquid novichok had been used. In fact that entire detail of hear-say disappears, and we are informed that the claim belongs to the OPCW director general. The Guardian goes on to say –

It is not clear how Üzümcü made his error.

Well, lets go back to the original article that is based on a New York Times interview to see if we can discern how  “Üzümcü made his error”.

Third paragraph, first sentence: “In an interview with the New York Times, Üzümcü said he had been told that about 50-100g of the nerve agent was thought to have been used in the attack in Salisbury.” (my emphasis)

So there you go. Üzümcü was repeating a rumour from an unnamed source – that was his error. I can’t quite understand why the Guardian isn’t figuring that one out and is instead suggesting that Üzümcü is incompetent or just plain stupid.

Given that the story has been reported across a number of outlets, with the focus shifting to insinuate levels of OCPW incompetence, I went searching for the New York Times article containing the interview with Üzümcü.

I found a piece that mentions the original piece and ‘corrects’ it with the following – A chemical weapons watchdog amended statements on Friday that its leader had given to The New York Times… (Here’s the link)

As an aside, how many internationally recognised ‘watchdogs’ are there in the world of chemical and biological weapons?! More than one? I think not.

Anyway. I can’t find the original article. A site search of The New York Times returns nothing, and a google search, though giving promising NYT links such as Large Dose of Nerve Agent Used in Attack in Britain, Says Weapons Watchdog from three days ago, and from two day ago, only links everything back to yesterday’s NYT article that I’ve provided above.

Which is a shame. I’d really like to know who it was that told the director general of the OPCW that 50-100g of stuff was used, because I’d assume Üzümcü wouldn’t just run with information coming from any old nobody.

So I have a request. Given that I’ve blown half of my “free access” to the New York Times, if anyone out there can find and link to the original NYT piece in comments I’d be very grateful.

Meanwhile, I’m thinking the glorious mainstream/ liberal/corporate media did one of those “seeding” or “united front” stories it does from time to time, ballsed it up, and is now in arse covering mode.

24 comments on “Media Sprays and Leaves. ”

  1. greywarshark 1

    The clue about its veracity was there from the first. ‘Up to 100g’?? The stuff is said to be highly toxic. If the scientists, researchers quoted are giving such a gigantic margin of possibility of dose then it means that whoever is passing on the information is saying (in parenthesis) – ‘We haven’t got a clue’.

    • Bill 1.1

      I want to know why a number of major media outlets attributed the opinion of a third party to the head of the OPCW.

      I’d like to know who that third party is.

      I’d also like to know enough to better judge if the idea was for “second tier” outlets (eg – the Huffington Post) to miss the inaccuracy and run with the basic line maligning the OPCW and calling it’s competency into question.

      I’m also curious as to why the original NYT article appears to have been disappeared.

      What I’m expecting is a wee few articles “rubbishing” the OPCW between now and the time their report on Douma is published/released. I could be wrong. We’ll see.

      • dukeofurl 1.1.1

        Its even more junk news than you have pointed out as the amounts ‘thought’ to be used were mg NOT g. ie 1000 times smaller.

        Nonsense begats nonsense

  2. cleangreen 2

    Bill,

    Now the PM of Czech republic admits that novichok was made in his country too but said ‘quickly’ now it was destroyed.

    http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-05/04/c_137156318.htm

    We were told it was only made in Russia so media are lying now.

    Another Russia Russia Russia crappy stitch up by media and Russia’s enemies obviously.

    media = false stories.

  3. NZJester 3

    Can the original NYT article be found on The Wayback Machine?
    It is amazing what things people try to hide can be dug up on that.

    • Bill 3.1

      No. I tried that. It seems (assuming I’m using the service correctly) that the NYT doesn’t allow its pages to be archived.

      And I found this on the European Tribune site –

      After the OPCW made a press statement, the New York Times did not issue a correction, but instead deleted its original article wholesale, replacing it with a new text.

      I still want to know who told Üzümcü that 50 – 100g had been used. And I want to know why media are still mis-reporting Üzümcü.

  4. R.P Mcmurphy 4

    dont give a shit about any of this.
    who dunnit is more to the point!

    • Bill 4.1

      The “paper of record” is deleting its own articles.
      Mainstream outlets are running a quite serious a lie/smear.
      And the OPCW may or may not be “in the crosshairs”.

      And you don’t give a shit. Sure. Fine.

      • McFlock 4.1.1

        What’s the “lie/smear”?

        • Bill 4.1.1.1

          Attributing claims to Üzümcü when he was quite explicit that he was only relaying what someone (obviously not connected to the OPCW) had said.

          Subsequent articles have run on that basis – that Üzümcü was giving his and the OPCW’s take on the matter.

          And y’know, when you want to attack an org, and call its competency into question, you only need to attack its head and then smear the entire org. by association.

          I would like to be able to read the original interview for the sake of context etc, but obviously can’t, since it’s been deleted from the internet.

          • McFlock 4.1.1.1.1

            Yeah, that’s what happens when you’re interviewed as part of an organisation (let alone head) and make statements: people assume that you’re speaking for the organisation.

            And if an online story focuses exclusively around a fact that turns out to be completely incorrect, you bet it disappears quickly.

            As for where he heard it, it might have been external, it might not. It’s kind of irrelevant, because he actually said it.

            • Bill 4.1.1.1.1.1

              “Someone said to me that the moon is made of cheese”, versus “The moon is made of cheese”.

              Pretty clear and obvious difference there I’d have thought.

              And as for stories being taken down and disappeared – this is the first from a major source I’ve encountered.

              And they are running with false facts – ie, they are saying Üzümcü said “the moon is made of cheese” when Üzümcü actually said “Someone said to me the moon is made of cheese.”

              And that bending of truth/ diimissal of context/ dumping of stated qualifiers, absolutely discredits the OPCW to a degree – so much so that they issued a presser pointing out they had no way to determine quantities – which the media is now reporting as the OPCW and Üzümcü “rowing back”…from something neither of them stated as being their own informed opinion.

              • McFlock

                Except that he repeated it in his role as head of an international organisation.

                His fuckup wasn’t the trivial gaff over units. His fuckup was offering unattributed rumour that he wasn’t sure of when he was speaking in an official capacity. It doesn’t matter what qualifiers he put on it, as far as anyone is concerned he is the source. The fact that he repeated it gave it credibility. So yeah, “rowing back” is a good way to put it.

                As for news site articles being removed, if you do a google search for the word “article” and the phrase “since removed” you’ll probably find links about Geoffrey Rush being mentioned in the Aus Telegraph, disappeared or sneakily edited articles from Forbes, LA Times, and even the Guardian.

                • Bill

                  When or where did he repeat that someone had said to him that 50 – 100g of nerve agent had been used? (I agree the units used are not the issue) And how does relaying the fact that someone has said such a thing give credence to the thing? The up front qualifications that he offered do matter, do change things, and ought not be ignored by media that purport to be serious and intelligent.

                  If the article was available, I suspect it’d show he used that piece of hear-say to get around to “quantity as weapon” explanations he seems to have commented on.

                  Edited or amended articles are not in the same league as articles being expunged from the net. And it’s not as though we’re talking about some minor org or outlet here. Anyway…

                  • McFlock

                    Even with qualifiers, the fact that, say, the head of NASA says someone told them that a radio telscope detected a signal that might indicate intelligent life on Europa would still carry a shedload more weight than an article saying exactly the same thing in a magazine published by Ian Wishart.

                    Sources matter, even if they’re repeating informal comments with qualifying statements.

                    And the original stories that named the guy charged in relation to a recent murder in Dunedin have been pulled. The Aus telegraph stories about Geoffrey Rush have been pulled. BTW, “expunged from the net” is probably just a dramatic way of saying “pulled before any bots archived the story, because as soon as the OPCW staff read it online they sprinted to the dude’s office”.

  5. Stunned Mullet 5

    Best to always go to the source for clarification.

    https://www.opcw.org/news/article/opcw-spokespersons-statement-on-amount-of-nerve-agent-used-in-salisbury/

    Üzümcü as I understand it is not a scientist so it may be as simple as a mistake on his part or a loss in translation – I don’t believe there’s any great conspiracy in terms of this report.

  6. aj 6

    Lubos Motl nails it here:

    https://motls.blogspot.co.nz/2018/05/czech-military-intelligence-cz-produced.html?m=1

    And this 1985 song is no less relevant today

  7. Brigid 7

    A message to Ellen Barry, who interviewed Üzümcü , asking if in the interview Üzümcü states who gave him the information, yeilds zilch.
    Also.

    • Bill 7.1

      Just pinged an email off to the OPCW asking about the source of that info. I’ll post something up if any reply comes back.

  8. xanthe 8

    I love this comment Bill 🙂
    “fed bullshit just so your opinions can be nurtured for harvesting?”:

    that is a really accurate and succinct summation .

    I am into my second week of boycott the herald . gosh there is a whole other world out there full of actual stuff happening. who woulda thunk it

    • Ed 8.1

      Same – I followed your lead.

      • DB Brown 8.1.1

        I’m a week off the Herald now. It really is some tainted garbage and when they allowed DHC’s article attempting to smear Clarke was the last straw. Perhaps I’m cynical but I reckon her goal was to build some pre-emptive illusion of her being in the know concerning malicious rumors she hoped would become mainstream and she – the person who knew all was not well…

        They’re a whole pack of delusional neurotics actually, do anything for exposure. I met similar personalities in entertainment. Nauseating.

        Not all entertainers, many are amazing folks.

        If you can recommend media for me that aren’t paid shills or nut jobs it’d be appreciated.

  9. Philg 9

    I would buy a ‘newspaper’ if I could find one with real news in it.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • What’s Labour achieved so far?
    Quite a bit! This Government was elected to take on the toughest issues facing Aotearoa – and that’s what we’re doing. Since the start of the pandemic, protecting lives and livelihoods has been a priority, but we’ve also made progress on long-term challenges, to deliver a future the next generation ...
    5 days ago
  • Tackling the big issues in 2022
    This year, keeping Kiwis safe from COVID will remain a key priority of the Government – but we’re also pushing ahead on some of New Zealand’s biggest long-term challenges. In 2022, we’re working to get more Kiwis into homes, reduce emissions, lift children out of poverty, and ensure people get ...
    7 days ago
  • Happy new year, Aotearoa!
    Welcome to 2022! As we look ahead to another year of progress on the big issues facing our country, we’re taking a look back at the year that’s been and everything the team of five million achieved together in 2021. ...
    3 weeks ago

  • New Zealand prepared to send support to Tonga
    New Zealand is ready to assist Tonga in its recovery from Saturday night’s undersea eruption and tsunami, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare said today. “Following the successful surveillance and reconnaissance flight of a New Zealand P-3K2 Orion on Monday, imagery and details have been sent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Aotearoa New Zealand stands ready to assist people of Tonga
    The thoughts of New Zealanders are with the people of Tonga following yesterday’s undersea volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami waves, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta says. “Damage assessments are under way and New Zealand has formally offered to provide assistance to Tonga,” said Nanaia Mahuta. New Zealand has made an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Record high of new homes consented continues
    In the year ended November 2021, 48,522 new homes were consented, up 26 per cent from the November 2020 year. In November 2021, 4,688 new dwellings were consented. Auckland’s new homes consented numbers rose 25 per cent in the last year. Annual figures for the last nine months show more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Report trumpets scope for ice cream exports
    Latest research into our premium ice cream industry suggests exporters could find new buyers in valuable overseas markets as consumers increasingly look for tip top quality in food. Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash has released a new report for the Food and Beverage Information Project. The project is run by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Honouring the legacy of legendary kaumātua Muriwai Ihakara
    Associate Minister for Arts, Culture, and Heritage Kiri Allan expressed her great sadness and deepest condolences at the passing of esteemed kaumātua, Muriwai Ihakara. “Muriwai’s passing is not only a loss for the wider creative sector but for all of Aotearoa New Zealand. The country has lost a much beloved ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Have your say on proposed changes to make drinking water safer
    Associate Minister for the Environment Kiri Allan is urging all New Zealanders to give feedback on proposed changes aimed at making drinking water safer. “The current regulations are not fit for purpose and don’t offer enough protection, particularly for those whose water comes from smaller supplies,” Kiri Allan said. “This ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Planting the seeds for rewarding careers
    A boost in funding for a number of Jobs for Nature initiatives across Canterbury will provide sustainable employment opportunities for more than 70 people, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “The six projects are diverse, ranging from establishing coastline trapping in Kaikōura, to setting up a native plant nursery, restoration planting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand congratulates Tonga's new Prime Minister on appointment
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta today congratulated Hon Hu'akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni on being appointed Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Tonga. “Aotearoa New Zealand and Tonga have an enduring bond and the Kingdom is one of our closest neighbours in the Pacific. We look forward to working with Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • High-tech investment extends drought forecasting for farmers and growers
    The Government is investing in the development of a new forecasting tool that makes full use of innovative climate modelling to help farmers and growers prepare for dry conditions, Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said.  The new approach, which will cost $200,000 and is being jointly funded through the Ministry for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Support for fire-hit Waiharara community
    The government will contribute $20,000 towards a Mayoral Relief Fund to support those most affected by the fires in Waiharara in the Far North, Minister for Emergency Management Kiri Allan says. “I have spoken to Far North Mayor John Carter about the effect the fires continue to have, on residents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Manawatū’s ‘oases of nature’ receive conservation boost
    The Government is throwing its support behind projects aimed at restoring a cluster of eco-islands and habitats in the Manawatū which were once home to kiwi and whio. “The projects, which stretch from the Ruahine Ranges to the Horowhenua coastline, will build on conservation efforts already underway and contribute ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand to continue Solomon Islands support
    A New Zealand Defence Force and Police deployment to help restore peace and stability to Solomon Islands is being scaled down and extended. The initial deployment followed a request for support from Solomon Islands Government after riots and looting in capital Honiara late last month. They joined personnel from Australia, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Our Pacific community shares in New Year’s Honours
    Prominent Pacific health champion Faumuina Professor Fa’afetai Sopoaga has been made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year’s Honours list. Professor Sopoaga has been a champion for Pacific Health at Otago University, said Minister of Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio. “She’s overseen changes in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Congratulations to Māori New Year’s Honours stars of 2022
    Kei aku rangatira kua whakawhiwhia koutou ki ngā tohu ā tō tātou kuīni hei whakanui nui i ā koutou mahi rangatira i hāpai i te manotini puta noa i a Aotearoa. Ko koutou ngā tino tauira. I whanake i ngā hapori, iwi, hapū, whānau me te motu anō hoki. Mauri ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Top honours for women in sport
    Minister of Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson has congratulated Olympian Lisa Carrington and Paralympian Sophie Pascoe on being made Dames Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (DNZM) in the 2022 New Year Honours. Lisa Carrington is New Zealand’s most successful Olympian, having won five gold and one bronze ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • PM congratulates 2022 New Year Honours recipients
    The New Zealanders recognised in the New Year 2022 Honours List represent the determination and service exemplified by so many New Zealanders during what has been another tough year due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “I never fail to be amazed by the outstanding things ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago