Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Factcheck Fail

So while the articles I commented on a couple of days ago were average at best, today media comment on the subject descended to a facepalming new low:

Helicopter had crashed before

This article is just flat out wrong. No-other way to say it. And the way it is phrased, I am kinda baffled as to how it got past the editors at all. Why did no-one in the writing or editorial process think to ask why an aircraft serialled 3809 was known as '06'? That sentence got my attention immediately as being weird, and it took about ten seconds of googling to figure out the actual story.

There is a bit of truth in it. NZ3809 did suffer an accident in 1990, was repaired, was returned to service, was used to support UN operations (albeit not being 'transferred' as stated). The only trouble is, it wasn't the aircraft that crashed on ANZAC day. That aircraft was serialled NZ3806, (which makes the '06 reference much more logical).

And which also makes the headline wrong, the lead and third paragraph wrong, and the whole article without merit. It's a misleading pile of high order inaccuracy which ties in well with a widespread media and uninformed public bias and perception that our armed forces are outdated, ineffectual and token at best, a joke at worst. And given its coverage in the print edition of at least two city daily's as well as on line, it is now going to be accepted as truth by many readers.

The media in this country have seldom covered any defence related story well in the past, and they aren't doing themselves any favours with this one either.

In the meantime spare a thought for the three families burying sons, brothers or husbands tomorrow*, and for the lone survivor.

*One of them was my age. It occurred to that if I had been able to join the service like I wanted, and succeeded in becoming a pilot, we would have been contemporaries. It's something that I've been pondering a bit over the last few days, the what might have been.

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