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Friday, May 20, 2005

Slaps stick to me

Abbi Titmuss does not like being called a slapper, she confided to makers of Abi Titmuss: A Modern Day Morality Tale, broadcast on Channel 4 (UK) last night. I'm rapidly going off being an expert happy slapper too, not least because no-one takes a blind bit of notice of what I actually say. Try the Daily Mirror today: I've never blamed TV for anything, just noted the similarities between Jackass and happy slaps. It's not that difficult...

Still the phone calls come in (today it was IRN, the Manchester Evening News (again) and BBC Radio's General News Service). Still I tell them that a causal effect is unlikely and, even if it existed, no-one has done the research to back up these claims. In order to even count the volume of footage in existence, one would need a police or court order to obtain each multimedia message from the mobile phone networks. So no-one really knows what's going on. Not even me. Sometimes I'm even asked to comment on open court cases or recent assaults, about which I know nothing. (That's my alibi, anyway.) I miss being a humble 1930s USA buff; this week a lone Dashiell Hammett query from Mexico was all but drowned amid press questions about happy slapping. Sometimes my media breakthrough with happy slaps feels like an own goal.

What I need is a media enforcer, like The Thick of It's Malcolm Tucker. That would sort it out. When I was quoted as blaming Dirty Sanchez once too often I emailed a fellow blogger, who offered a correction and this useful observation: "The problem normally with this sort of news is it depends on wire services. This story, as I ran it, was prominently on the BBC site. Which brings up an interesting point. No news agency and only two newspapers I know of will do this correction of archives which is why false fact, once in gets on the Internet, gains a permanent life of its own. And the BBC site which carried the original incorrect story still has it on the Internet."

As if to reinforce his argument about what Australians call 'Furphies', Gareth Powell also pointed out that a "story is circulating the Internet supposedly from the BBC with the catchy title: Lion Mutilates 42 Midgets in Cambodian Ring-Fight. The problem is it looks real. But further research brings us: This article has absolutely no affiliation with the actual BBC, its templates were used only to make the story appear to be legitimate. Please click the 'More on this story.' link at the bottom of the article and read that page. The BBC template is only left up to give an idea of how the article initially appeared, and how it was able to spread around the internet so quickly. Please note that the 'bbc.co.fake' images were added as another precaution to make sure readers know the article is not real, to my knowledge, the BBC does not actually have a 'fake-news' department.
Which stops that story in its tracks. The problem with the Internet is that a lie can be twice around the world while the truth is still getting out of bed." Quite.

More of my reflections of a kneejerk reactionary appear here, on Spiked-online.

2 Comments:

Blogger Neil Craig said...

"The problem with the Internet is that a lie can be twice around the world while the truth is still getting out of bed."

I think that is less the case than with conventional media. On the net it is easy to provide a link to the primary source so I think that the truth actually catches up with the lies much faster on the net.

(eg see the story the Telegraph did recently about German dole offices insisting unemployed women take up jobs as hookers - it went round very fast but it didn't take netters to long to establish that it had been invented by German lefties - not the sort the Telegraph would have trusted had they known)

9:39 pm  
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