Reporting that an SAS operative stormed a Kenyan hotel "single-handedly" is not only a lie, it is also highly disrespectful to the Kenyan authorities.
There is no doubt that the SAS trooper who was present at the recent stand-off in a Kenyan Hotel, when terrorists stormed the building and took hostages, made a heroic contribution to saving lives. That much is true. But to say he performed his act single-handedly, as some do, is an insult to the many Kenyan servicemen and women who launched an immediate and coordinated response combining special forces, police and military units.
Such reporting, presenting skewed versions of events, is becoming a mainstay in the British media, a media which pats itself on the back for telling the truth when in fact what many outlets do, is sell lies. Remember the stories about Gaddafi bombing his own people in Tripoli? Remember the look on their faces when Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi took them to the places where they said the bombs had fallen, revealing that the entire story was a fabrication?
Remember the pictures of Greek banks which they said were failed Russian ones, remember the "mass demonstrations" against Putin which were in fact protests against the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991, a decade before he came to power? Remember the pictures of civilians murdered by "Assad" which were copied and pasted from the Iraqi front two decades earlier?
And it is not only the British media selling lies. Remember the sexed-up report on Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction, which turned out to be a doctoral thesis copied and pasted from the Net written a decade earlier, justifying an illegal attack against a sovereign nation in which war crimes were committed? Remember the biased reporting against the Serbian authorities, attacked by the Albanian terrorist KLA which the west supported? And where once has the western media stated that in Libya, western powers were supporting terrorist groups on their own lists of illegal organizations?
And now Brexit, with the monstrous lies about 50 million pounds a day or 350 million pounds per week available for the National Health Service? What complete and utter nonsense.
So no wonder the social media has now taken over as the leader of truth-telling, no wonder people learn more from the comments section under the articles than the articles themselves, no wonder that the mass media has started a campaign to fight against what it calls "fake news". No wonder that social media sites are starting to censor what people are writing and ban them for daring to tell the truth about Syria and the Ukraine for instance.
People are banned from social media outlets because they point out that the Ukrainian authorities are attacking their own population, that the South-Eastern Ukrainians had to take up arms to defend themselves, that they were massacred in attacks carried out by Fascists backing Kiev. People are banned because they out the fact that western countries have been supporting terrorists in Syria, a sovereign nation, and because they point out that Russia is defending the Syrian people against this scourge.
The reaction? To boycott newspapers and sites which tell the truth, brand them as fake newsmongers, and to send virus warnings to those trying to log on. In doing so, they are losing the media war and admitting their own defeat.
In the same discussion comes the question of responsibility to tell the truth but also to show restraint in identifying people without permission, or posting videos of them without their permission. In this, comes the responsibility of the social media as well as the mass media and while it is wrong to say the SAS trooper acted single-handedly, it is also wrong to post his face online so that he can be easily identified and thus endangering his life. And in this discussion comes material available to all on video sites, in which the subject of the footage is shown, again without permission.
It is the duty of a journalist to tell the truth and to listen and read more than (s)he speaks or writes until (s)he is aware that what is being divulged is the real story and not some fabrication to smear a person or a country to garner support for a policy.
By Domenichino - https://www.wired.com/2015/02/fantastically-wrong-unicorn/ , Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=206210
Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey works in the area of teaching, consultancy, coaching, translation, revision of texts, copy-writing and journalism. Director and Chief Editor of the Portuguese version of Pravda.Ru since 2002, and now Co-Editor of the English version, he contributes regularly to several other publications in Portuguese and English. He has worked in the printed and online media, in daily, weekly, monthly and yearly magazines and newspapers. A firm believer in multilateralism as a political approach and multiculturalism as a means to bring people and peoples together, he is Official Media Partner of UN Women, fighting for gender equality and Media Partner with Humane Society International, promoting animal rights. His hobbies include sports, in which he takes a keen interest, traveling, networking to protect the rights of LGBTQI communities and victims of gender violence, and cataloging disappearing languages, cultures and traditions around the world. A keen cook, he enjoys trying out different cuisines and regards cooking and sharing food and drinks as a means to understand cultures and bring people together.