Talk about irresponsible journalism

CENTRAL_reasonably_smallI have just turned on Seesmic for twitter and it is abuzz with information that Madeleine could have been found in India and they are awaiting DNA results.

This obviously relates to this story that was published a while ago.

But what I find most appalling is the journalistic way of reporting this via twitter.

The first tweet was

Which obviously delighted everyone.  People were hoping and praying this is Madeleine and Kate and Gerry can start on that road of recovery and their nightmare is over and they have their daughter back in their care.

But no, next this tweet was issued by @ITV Central 19 minutes after the other tweet.

Surely they could have got confirmation before embarking on building people’s hopes up, especially the hopes of her family.

Sorry ITV Central this is disgusting reporting.  How much more does this family have to endure?


8 comments on “Talk about irresponsible journalism

  1. Hi Carana, yes I think that is what happened, but I really would have thought before shouting BREAKING NEWS ITVCentral would have checked their facts first. 

    I know it must have been a let-down for the parents but it was nice to see so many wishing the news that was breaking was true and how they were hoping that Madeleine had been found.

    Of course CM is getting accused of lying from the usual suspects.  But as you say the story originated from India back on the 23rd and the quote was from then so unless Clarence had found a journalist to print this I can’t see how he can be blamed for the DNA error.

  2. Hi. 

    Something obviously got confused somewhere down the line. I suspect someone did see   a child they thought could be her. Doesn’t sound like a 15-minutes-of-fame report. I expect the “DNA check” was a hypothetical possibility that got morphed into fact. As usual. 

    The original came from an Indian online paper, written on 23/7 though the date in the link indicates 24/7.

    A local police official said there was worldwide alert for Madeleine and it would be a great honour for the Leh police to find the missing girl. “However, it all depends upon the evidence like DNA for which help from Madeleine’s parents and the British police was required.”

    That then got picked up the Daily Mail on 28/7 (maybe earlier as that’s when it was last updated).

    So I expect the DM contacted Clarence at some point, who presumably thought an initiative of a DNA check HAD been taken. What could have happened is that a photo of the child was sent through and if it didn’t resemble her, there was no need to do a test. 

    Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for Madeleine’s parents Gerry and Kate McCann, said: ‘Our private investigators are aware of the reports from India over the weekend about a possible sighting of Madeleine.

    ‘We are liaising with the Indian authorities over the incident and await the results of the DNA test.’
    So then everyone else ran with it… 

    On the bright side, that tweet of hope got retweeted 860 times, so people do keep hoping. And at least some people are still vigilant. 

    itvcentral: Reports that a child resembling Madeleine #Mccann has been found in India. Awaiting DNA results5 hours ago 860 http://topsy.com/s?order=date&q=%23mccann%20%20from%3Aitvcentral&type=tweet&window=realtime

  3. On the other hand,  although it seems unlikely, there might be some confusion in communication as to who from which authority was contacted. The story will either get buried, or an explanation will be the next story… 

  4. Yes I generally take it as “here we go again” but when I saw it was from ITVCentral that is when I really thought something was about to break and maybe Madeleine had been found.

    I know it is entirely a different subject, but the reporting of this hacking of Sarah Payne’s phone is very confusing at the matter.  So far all I have gathered is that it was the NOTW that gave her the phone, Rebekah is denying all knowledge of it being hacked and something about the voicemail not being switched on now till 2009.  Confusing…. paracetamol time.

  5. Clarence has actually put up with a huge amount of ridicule. It can’t have been easy.

  6. Yes, well, I know that anything on Twitter announced as “breaking news” just means “a rumour is circulating that…”

  7. Yep. Saw the Guardian is leading with several stories on Sarah Payne’s phone. The other detail that would appear to be fact is that the police confirmed that her “contact details” were indeed found in Mulcaire’s notes. If he simply had her phone number, so what? It could simply be a matter of having it at hand if some journo or other wanted to contact her for an interview. 

    I’m afraid my BS alert is ringing on this one. Judging from the spin, I suspect there’s a bit of getting NoW to swallow it’s own medicine going on. 

  8. I found this article quite entertaining on how even respectable journalists get caught up in the Twitter rumour mill. 

    It’s about Piers Morgan supposedly being suspended by CNN pending an investigation into possible knowledge of hacking. It got merrily retweeted by all and sundry, including Jon Snow. 

    In their enthusiasm, however, they hadn’t noticed that the origin was a tweet from… a spoof account. Worth a read. LOL


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