I try to follow a great many blogging colleagues. We assist one another in several ways, most notably by drawing one another’s attention to stories not everyone catches at their appearance. For that, I am grateful, as no one media organ reports on every story – and no one has the stamina to read all the news media that report daily.
But now and then, a colleague does something really bad. Here’s the headline:
Sounds pretty important! And here’s the thrust of the column:
Monday, Belarus President Tyrant Aleksandr Lukashenko negotiated with Russia for nukes. Belarus now has nukes.
“Putin sold an undisclosed number of nuclear-capable 9K720 Iskander short-range ballistic missiles to the country…in addition to the missiles… Lukashenko purchased S-400 missile systems and has plans to manufacture his own by the end of the year, with assistance from Russian weapons experts.”
At the same time President Tyrant Lukashenko was buying nukes from Russia, he wagged his tyrannical finger at the West for creating conflict.
“In a letter to United Nations Secretary General António Guterres released on Monday, Lukashenko warned that international efforts to bolster Ukraine’s security could lead to the conflict in that country expanding into another world war…Lukashenko said Belarus ‘calls on the countries of the world to unite and prevent the regional conflict in Europe from escalating into a full-scale world war!’”
Read the above snippet slowly and carefully, Gentle Reader. Run your thumb under the words if it helps. (It helps to slow me down; it might do the same for you.) Do the same with the two stories the column cites. Then take a moment to catch your breath, sit back, and answer a simple question:
Say that Lukashenko purchased nukes?
Because I can find no such statement in either of them. They report that Lukashenko purchased nuclear-capable missiles and missile systems. They don’t say anything about what warheads were supplied with them – if any.
Yet the Victory Girls column baldly states that “Belarus now has nukes.” Indeed, it’s in the headline in huge font.
That could be the result of a spot of misreading by column author Shelby Gallagher. If so, she should be severely criticized and subjected to a spell of editorial supervision for her error, which is among the most serious errors a reporter can make. But it could also be fear porn – click bait. And that would be inexcusable.
I’m not in the habit of castigating or condemning fellow bloggers. What we do is unpaid, a labor of love. Many of my colleagues are not as appreciated as they deserve. But we should be above the sort of eyeball-magnet tactics for which we’ve justly condemned the Legacy Media on other occasions. Ironically, her Legacy Media source was more accurate than my Victory Girls colleague. Newsweek refrained from asserting that Belarus had acquired nuclear weapons, though it did do a bit of fear-mongering on its own by reporting on the “nuclear-capable” missile sales.
To any other bloggers reading this tirade: Hold yourselves to a higher standard than this. This sort of thing could do more than befoul our reputations. It could get people killed.
Think about it.