Perhaps it’s time Lord Justice Leveson was prosecuted under the Trade Descriptions Act for his infamous claim about the media having a powerful reputation for accuracy. Consider this example above from The Week. In the highlighted paragraph there are no less than four factual errors. In one bloody paragraph!
For the record, which the media seems incapable of keeping straight, the Mastiff was deployed in Iraq in late 2006 after it had been ordered that summer. However its subsequent ‘trickle’ introduction in Afghanistan (as fast it became available off the line) came after the Defence Secretary, Des Browne, came under pressure to improve the safety quality of equipment used by our forces there – which was before Gordon Brown even became Prime Minister. The Mastiff was actually in the Afghan theatre by early 2007. The Snatch Land Rover does not have a soft top, it is a lightly armoured vehicle. And how could the Mastiff be called upon to replace the Viking when it had been ordered before the Viking was even deployed. In fact the Viking was actually replaced by the Warthog.
Surely this article must be a contender for the most errors in a single paragraph in a professional media outlet.
But the media inaccuracy continues apace as Richard demonstrates on EU Referendum today. The news that a 27 tonne Mastiff has been destroyed by a huge IED, killing three Fusiliers and injuring several more, has had various outlets reporting its weight variously as 15 tonnes in the Daily Mail, 17 tonnes in the Daily Express, 24 tonnes on Radio 4’s PM and 25 tonnes on BBC One news.
The public is being fed a diet of inaccurate, badly researched tosh that will form part of the historical record. Generations in the future will look back at the articles and listen to the clips believing they are an accurate record of our history, and get misinformation and downright erroneous material. This is not a trivial matter. It is a gross distortion and it is a de facto airbrushing of our time.