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Wednesday 12 April 2017

Daily Mail Libels United Passenger?

[Update at end of post]

The incident at Chicago O’Hare Airport where a United Airlines flight to Louisville, KY was overbooked and one unfortunate punter was dragged, bleeding and barely conscious, from the aircraft, is now well-known. United could - and should - have dealt with the overbooking problem either at check-in, or at the latest at the boarding gate. The carrier’s ineptitude has wiped millions off the company’s share price and alienated customers.
But for the press, and particularly the Daily Mail, just reporting the story is never enough. There must inevitably be the poking around in the private lives of those concerned, and in the Mail’s case, that has meant going after the bloke who got dragged off the flight, to the horror of his fellow customers. Dr David Dao has now found himself plastered all over Mail Online. But the problem appears not to be his, but the Mail’s.

The online article is headlinedREVEALED: Doctor dragged off United Airlines flight won more than $230,000 at poker while his medical license was suspended for trading prescription drugs for secret gay sex … Dr David Dao's troubled medical past is revealed in court documents … His wife Teresa - also a doctor - reported him to medical authorities and his secret inappropriate gay relationship with a patient was revealed”.
Those are pretty strong allegations to make, so it’s critically important that there is no chance the Mail got the wrong man, especially when the supporting article goes on to tell “The father of five, who has won sympathy globally over the United Airlines incident, was given a suspended jail sentence for illegally obtaining and trafficking controlled substances by fraud and deceit”. Could there be more? There certainly could.

He was also found to have engaged in sex with a male patient - Brian Case, who he knew from the church they both attended - and then supplied him with drugs, including Oxycontin, in exchange for sexual favours … The sexual liaisons, which happened in motel rooms, were recorded by undercover agents. He paid $200 in cash each time he met Case”. Or, maybe, he didn’t pay anything, because … you know what’s coming.
Mark Tran was apparently the first to blow the whistle, Tweeting “Two different folks. David Anh Duy Dao is the person in Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure letters. The UA victim is David Thanh Duc Dao”. The Mail must have assumed that because the flight was headed for an airport in Kentucky that they had the right Dr Dao. It seems they did not.

And freelance journalist Claire Connelly has now weighed in with “I hate to say I told you so, but as it turns out fact checking matters because a number of publications (including the ones listed above) confused United’s Dr David Dao with another David Dao and now they definitely all stand to be sued for defamation”.

Once again, the Mail is embarrassingly involved in another of those “they’ve got similar names and look alike” howlers. The article’s headline has been screen-shotted in anticipation of the inevitable moment when it mysteriously vanishes from view.

Another of those stories that look too good to be true - because they are too good to be true. Say sorry, Dacre doggies. And pay the [perhaps large multiple of] two Dollars.

[UPDATE 13 April 0925 hours: Claire Connelly has now updated her findings. This is what she has to say.

"It turns out David A Dao was correctly identified as the man with the sordid past. I maintain none of those details should ever have been reported as they had no baring on his humiliating and violent eviction from the United Flight".

Strangely, the Mail is today mentioning not Dr Dao's past, but that he is about to launch a lawsuit against United Airlines. A $2 million price tag is being mentioned. I'll just leave that one there]


Gary said...

You couldn't make it up.
But Dacre's Mail did!

Malcolm Redfellow said...

Doubt it's a good day at Northcliffe Towers.

This after the Melania Trump pay-out. Ooops ... there goes another couple of million.

Arnold said...

Not a good day for the Fail. It's paying damages to Melania Trump and apologised to settle two lawsuits.

Arnold said...

How were we to know that there were two c***ing doctors with similar names?

Amanda Kendal said...

The Telegraph has carried the same 'story'.

Unknown said...

Rothermere must be sorry he didn't dump Dacre when Cameron asked him to.

anonymous said...

As a reporter it is your job to get it right. Even if there were two doctors with the same name it is incumbent on the reporter to make sure they've got the right one. But this is the Daily Mail. Why expect standards and facts?

Anonymous said...

I really hope that Dr David Dao takes UA AND the Fail to the cleaners and makes a fortune.

Anonymous said...

They got confused due the fact he has the same name and looks like the person because he is the person.


Simon said...

If it sounds too good to be true...

Jim said...

Your source has now back tracked. Sadly it seems the mail got it right although what his history has to do with anything is beyond me.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha... another few millions for David Dao. Blessing in disguise to the scuffle. He could now retire as a millionaire.

Anonymous said...

The source has messed up again. She says "Dr David A Dao was correctly identified as the man with the sordid past..."
But Dr David A Dao was never on the flight. That was Dr T Dao. More stupidity