Friday, August 12, 2011

London Riots: Journalism Fail Survivor Apprentice.

Google news headline IPCC "misled press over shooting" bungles BBC headline Mark Duggan death: IPCC 'may have misled journalists', which derives from a bungled Guardian headline: Mark Duggan death: IPCC says it inadvertently misled media, which is not true, and it's not even what the headline's story asserts. The story reports that the police watchdog said it may have "inadvertently" misled journalists into believing the Tottenham man had fired at police. Looking even closer, the IPCC actually stated, in response to queries from the Guardian, that "it seems possible that we may have verbally led journalists to believe that shots were exchanged."

The Mark Duggan shooting is also widely reported (or misreported) to have "sparked" the mayhem and looting in Britain earlier this week. Anyway. . .

The officer who shot Duggan never said he was fired at "and is understood to be upset that the family might have been misled into believing this." I should say so. Further, it wasn't the IPCC that got the story wrong.

The IPCC's first statement made no reference to shots being fired at police. An IPCC spokesperson did say (i.e. "verbally") that an officer had been shot (which is true; it seems a bullet fired by the other cop lodged in the shot cop's radio). The Evening Standard (inaccurately) reported a "shootout" in which the officer who shot Duggan was "returning" fire. The Mirror quoted an IPCC spokesman in those first frenzied reports: "We do not know the order the shots were fired. We understand the officer was shot first, then the male," which also appears to be completely true.

The IPCC statement: "Analysis of media coverage and queries raised on Twitter have alerted to us to the possibility that we may have inadvertently given misleading information to journalists when responding to very early media queries following the shooting of Mark Duggan by MPS officers on the evening of 4 August." This is two full days before the riots began, which seems more than enough time for journalists to have corrected any mistakes they made. The IPCC concedes it was possible that its early information suggested shots were exchanged, and the IPCC added: "This was consistent with early information we received that an officer had been shot and taken to hospital. Any reference to an exchange of shots was not correct and did not feature in any of our formal statements, although an officer was taken to hospital after the incident."

A more suitable headline: Media Get Story Wrong, London Goes Up In Flames, Media Blame Police.


Blogger Mark, Ottawa said...

I like your headline.


11:37 AM  

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