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New Docs in Assange Case?

Accuracy in research and in reporting? This is the 'MSM'!


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BIG SMOKE (Rixstep) — 'New Docs Throw Doubt on Julian Assange Rape Charges in Stockholm', blasts yesterday's headline from the 'Readers Supported News' website.

That's not the original title. The original title is much worse. The original article is published at the Observer, which should clue everyone into what kind of headline would be used. Namely - get ready!


Julian Assange's Penetration Agenda:
Was it Rape in Stockholm?


Actually the article itself is not that mean - it's obviously the good editors at Guardian Media Group who've been in to tweak things a bit, like a good British Claes Borgström.

But absence of malice is not enough to get a gold star - accuracy's also important. And the author of the piece seems to be late to a subject matter that's well over five years old - without having studied much at all.

Small errors can be excusable - but of course must be fixed, as these things are a matter of history. But offering the reader more than bargained for, and getting things wrong time and again - was there no copyeditor on this project?

It's nice when someone takes an interest in the case of Assange in Sweden. But it's not nice when someone makes so many cringeworthy errors. Not just minor, somewhat forgiveable, errors either, but the kind that are wrapped in 'colour details' meant to impress the reader - that are still embarrassingly wrong. As asked below: was it Luke Harding who commissioned this one?

See for yourself - following are a few (rather typical) examples culled from tweets yesterday evening.

  1.  Who did the research on this? A drunkard? #Assange #svpol

  2. 'unpeace'? That's your translation of 'ofredande'? Facepalm
     http://archive.is/lTypr#selection-637.61-637.68

  3. 'signed by Swedish authorities on August 26, 2010'
     That's four days before the testimony of Julian Assange.
     (And twelve days before anyone else's testimony.)
     The version sent to Belmarsh was sent to UK 2010-11-23.
     http://archive.is/lTypr#selection-645.51-645.99

  4. 'Sweden which does not refer to the land mass east of Norway'

     

     http://archive.is/lTypr#selection-645.271-645.333

  5. 'rape being våldtäkt in Swedish'
     The significance of which is what? That you know a Swedish word?
     (There's a point to be made here - but you don't make it, do you?)
     http://archive.is/lTypr#selection-653.75-655.8

  6. 'joked about the broken condom'
     Those two never joked about a condom. Read again.
     http://archive.is/lTypr#selection-657.279-657.377

  7. 'She then went out and bought the two of them breakfast'
     She ate her own breakfast before going out.
     http://archive.is/lTypr#selection-661.0-661.54

  8. 'on a Saturday'
     NO. ON A FRIDAY.
     http://archive.is/lTypr#selection-665.268-665.281

  9. 'Ms Ardin is 'abroad' (we don't know where)'
     Yes we do know where. The island of Gotland.
     http://archive.is/lTypr#selection-703.0-703.43

  10. 'Mr Assange, Ms Wilen, and a third man (Donald Bostrom)'
     The 'third man' was Johannes Wahlström. (There were only two men.)
     http://archive.is/lTypr#selection-977.14-977.16

  11. 'They went to the metro station where Ms Wilen bought him a ticket (107 Swedish kronor)'
     That's the train ticket to Enköping, you doofus.
     http://archive.is/lTypr#selection-977.447-977.535

  12. 'They start making out again, in a park'
     They were at the waterfront in the Old Town.
     http://archive.is/lTypr#selection-1031.361-1031.399

  13. 'They have to take a commuter train, the dreaded pendeltåg'
     NO, this is a real train. Facepalm
     http://archive.is/lTypr#selection-1031.436-1033.9

  14. 'And, once again, she has to pay for his train ticket (107 Swedish kronor)'
     So the same price as to the close by metro stop Universitetet? ;)
     http://archive.is/lTypr#selection-1035.51-1035.124

  15. 'Stureplan...yes that's right...North entrance, Stureplan'
     Stureplan isn't a metro stop.

     

     http://archive.is/lTypr#selection-1043.119-1043.171

  16. (Luke Harding must have been the mentor on this one.)

If there's one thing that hallmarks global media coverage of Assange in Sweden from the get-go, it's sloppiness. (That smears are often involved, as WikiLeaks per se threatens the 'old guard', is another matter entirely.) It's a good thing if the media finally open their eyes to what's been going on up in the far north, but you're going to report on it - then get it right.

PS. And if you didn't guess: these are not 'new docs' - they've been available for five years.

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