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Flying pigs: social media is really showing up old media

Posted on: November 16, 2009

Epworth
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Following the flying pigs

I had a follow-up to my post on Managing in Africa.

My curiosity about the fate of warthogs that got in the way of a jet taking-off at Harare International Airport received some dry feedback.  Apparently, there were no pigs.  The plane ‘just’ lost its landing gear.

The pilot should obviously be congratulated for bringing the aircraft to a safe stop with no injuries.  The media should be following up the safety of that make of aircraft!

But pigs at airports that turned out to be flying pigs  . . .

A funny story that teaches us something about judging the accuracy of media reports

I was slow to detect BS.  That got me thinking.

  • I did notice that story was unfinished.  No one told us what happened to the pigs ~ or congratulated the pilot.
  • This is another example of how old media are only too willing to report the accounts of powers-that-be, even when they are in Zimbabwe.
  • This is another example of how old media are only too willing to regurgitate each others “news” without checking for themselves.

And I have lost my instincts for the truth of stories coming out of Zimbabwe.  I have been away too long.

We all judge stories by their narrative form and an essential player in every narrative is ourselves  When we are not part of the story, we will have difficult spotting inaccuracies.

Third parties are not necessarily good observers

Good accounts always have many perspectives.  Perhaps the first checks on any story is

  • Who said it?
  • Who repeated it?
  • Who was left out?

And above all, follow the money!

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