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Tuesday 19 July 2016

Bataclan Torture Story - THE END

There comes a time when every inflated or fabricated slice of clickbait dross gets its comeuppance, finally meets its moment of truth. For the rumour-peddling Murdoch-bankrolled Heat Street website, fronted by (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch, that moment of truth has now come, as my good friend Dan Waddell has exposed her claims about the massacre at Paris’ Bataclan theatre as worthless.
Waddell, who had already taken his forensic real journalism - as opposed to Ms Mensch’s faux yet obsessive kind - to substantially debunk her misguided defence of Tim Hunt over his unfortunate remarks recently, has distilled the flaws in the Heat Street coverage down to a series of Tweets, which tell you all you need to know about how clickbait is generated from wacko fringe websites and then passed off as the real article.
The Bataclan “torture” claims were not new, and certainly not “exclusive. The allegations were first made on the InfoWars site, which is linked to Alex Jones, whose claim to fame is his pursuit of conspiracy theories, like claiming the moon landings were faked, or that the US Government was involved in the Oklahoma City bombing and the 11 September attacks. InfoWars made their claim a day before Heat Street.
Only after Ms Mensch had picked up on the claim made by InfoWars did Heat Street then run the same allegations, claiming an “exclusive” for them. As Dan Waddell has said, Heat Street claimed its article was based on a transcript from a French Government report, but that report is half a million words long, so how did the article get out there in a mere 50 minutes from the link to InfoWars being provided?
This would not, as Waddell says, be of much importance in the great scheme of things, except that a number of newspaper websites have picked up on the allegations and run their own versions of the story. It would also not be so important if so many in France were not horrified at the ability of a Murdoch-bankrolled site to do away with listening to anyone, or indeed to think just for a moment of the sensibilities of the victims’ families.
Samuel Laurent of Le Monde has protested that the Heat Street story is “totally false”, and asked “how can a journalist spread hoaxes like this?” Jérémy Maccaud of broadcaster BFMTV has tried to point out that hearing someone screaming in agony is not proof of torture. For his efforts, Laurent has been threatened by Ms Mensch that she will “fisk your lies and smears”. She has also conceded her only interest is clickbait.
You heard that right: to the question “Any comments on the paper you write for?” she replied “It was our best performing piece of all time I am glad to say”. It wasn’t an exclusive, it was recycled from a known conspiracy theory site, there was nothing more than supposition and rumour to back up the claims, an increasing number of real journalists have protested that it isn’t true, but it got lots of clicks, which is what matters.

After post-truth politics comes post-truth journalism - journalism without facts, and indeed without journalists. Just make it up, and think of the clicks.

[Please be aware that abusive and defamatory comments will not be passed for publication. Please try to keep the discussion fact-based and civilised. Many thanks]


Anonymous said...

This is complex. The upshot of Ms Mensch's story (that the French authorities censored the facts in the report) is incorrect. But that claim doesn't come from Infowars, whose source was the website of "French nationalist" (!) Boris Le Lay:


Using Le Lay's citations as a guide, it would certainly not be beyond even Ms Mensch's lowly skills to rustle up a few translated passages and rush into print within an hour (Infowars carries no translations in its story, so that is not LM's source). In fact, the lack of fact-checking strongly suggests that this haste would be the case.

The claims of torture, which are the fundamental issue, rest on sources that are a bit stronger than people 'hearing screams'. The French journalist who claims otherwise is either dissembling or hasn't checked his facts. I'm going with the latter possibility.

Anonymous said...

And still......

No evidence.

No facts.

No witnesses.

How hard is that to understand?

Anonymous said...

Why don't you try reading the report?

Anonymous said...

Darrell says that Mensch says she speaks French...so how on earth did she think that 'Hebdo' was the surname of 'Charlie'?

Anonymous said...

Evidence and facts would be welcome to back up these allegations.

Nobody has provided either.

Until they do, nobody can believe a word of it.

That's the way democratic law works. And common sense.

Man From Atlan said...

I actually had a look at the French parliamentary committee's report and what with machine translation and (very quick) read I might have missed it, just couldn't find the verbatim quotes about torture Info Wars claims. Anyone?

Man From Atlan said...

(cont'd) so I double-checked. Here's the searchable PDF at http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/14/pdf/rap-enq/r3922-t2.pdf
M. le président Georges Fenech. En effet, la commission est troublée par ces
informations, qui n’ont filtré nulle part. Ainsi, le père de l’une des victimes m’a adressé la
copie d’une lettre qu’il a transmise au juge d’instruction, que je cite en résumant : « Sur les
causes de la mort de mon fils A., à l’institut médico-légal de Paris, on m’a dit, et ce avec des
réserves compte tenu du choc que cela représentait pour moi à cet instant-là, qu’on lui avait
coupé les testicules, qu’on les lui avait mis dans la bouche, et qu’il avait été éventré. Lorsque je
l’ai vu derrière une vitre, allongé sur une table, un linceul blanc le recouvrant jusqu’au cou, une
psychologue m’accompagnait. Cette dernière m’a dit : ‟La seule partie montrable de votre fils
est son profil gauche.” J’ai constaté qu’il n’avait plus d’oeil droit. J’en ai fait la remarque ; il
m’a été répondu qu’ils lui avaient crevé l’oeil et enfoncé la face droite de son visage, d’où des
hématomes très importants que nous avons pu tous constater lors de sa mise en bière. »
M. Michel Cadot. Je n’ai eu aucune connaissance de ces faits, ni par l’Institut
médico-légal ni par les fonctionnaires en question. Il appartient de toute évidence à l’enquête
judiciaire d’en apprécier la véracité. J’ai néanmoins compris qu’il n’a été retrouvé sur le site de
l’attaque aucun couteau ni aucun autre engin tranchant qui aurait permis ce type de mutilations.
Il sera aisé de le vérifier dans le cadre de l’enquête. En ce qui me concerne, encore une fois, je
n'ai reçu aucun message de la sorte provenant de l’Institut médico-légal ou de la direction de
tutelle de la BAC concernée."

"Mr. President Georges Fenech. Indeed, the Committee is disturbed by these
information that have filtered nowhere. Thus, the father of one of the victims sent me the
copy of a letter he sent to the judge, and I quote summarizing: "On
causes the death of my son A., to the forensic institute in Paris, I was told, and with
reserves given the shock it was for me at that moment, we had him
cut the testicles, they had been put into his mouth, and he was disembowelled. When I
saw behind glass, lying on a table, a white shroud covering it up to the neck, a
psychologist with me. The latter said: "The only presentable part of your son
is left profile. "I found that it had no right eye. I made the remark; he
I was told they had put out his eye and down the right side of his face, where
very large hematoma that we could all see when it is in beer. "
"Michel Cadot. I had no knowledge of these facts, nor by the Institute
forensic or by the officials in question. It is obviously up to the investigation court to assess the veracity. Nevertheless, I realized that was found on the site the attack no knife or other sharp device that would allow this type of mutilation.
It will be easy to check as part of the investigation. In my case, once again, I have not received any message so from the Forensic Institute or the management guardianship of the LAC concerned."

So, hearsay, and no confirmation.

Anonymous said...

"That's the way democratic law works. And common sense."

A conversation isn't a democracy, and nor is a court of law, and neither is governed by 'common sense'.

In this particular instance, the facts you want to see are just a mouseclick and a ctrl+f keyword search away. Your lack of familiarity with those facts does not mean that they do not exist. Nor does it mean that I am obliged to acquaint you with them.

What you are doing is stating that you are proud to have formed an opinion while deliberately not looking at any of the evidence, even though it might prove you right. I'll just, as they say, leave that there.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 00:07

So you don't have evidence or witnesses...Which, even if you had them, you are not obliged to present. A most peculiar self-denial position.

Yes, best leave it there.

That too is democracy and common sense.

Man From Atlan said...

@Anonymous 20 July 2016 at 00:07 I did search the report, and it was allegation, hearsay, and not fact. So unless Boris Le Lay or InfoWars can corroborate their allegations, there are no "facts".