Der Spiegel’s headline reads “What we learn from the coverage of the Bellingcat report,” in what is a very public apology to readers for taking the ridiculous Bellingcat “evidence” at face value and presenting it as journalistic evidence.
Der Spiegel’s apoligetic title should really read, “We are constantly pressured by the US government to print the stupid crap this Atlantic Council nitwit comes up with…sorry readers, you caught us.”
Via Sputnik News Agency…
“Among our journalistic principles is the fact that we do not assess explosive news as reliable until we have received it from two trustworthy sources independent from each other.”
“If we rate news so explosive that we do not want to withheld it from you, dear readers, even if we could not verify it, then we choose a careful formulation.”
But this, the choosing of a careful formulation for yet to be verified explosive news, is exactly what Der Spiegel failed to do at least twice during the initial coverage of the Bellingcat MH17 report.
Twice Der Spiegel got burned by reprinting Bellingcat fantasy. It looks like the German publishing giant is ready to pull the plug on further Bellingcat fairytales. Hopefully other media outlets follow suit.
— SPIEGEL English (@SPIEGEL_English) June 4, 2015
@hackerfactor Bellingcat fans are very butthurt because someone exposes their charlatanism They spent whole day arguing with real scientists
— Dony (@DonDonblizz1) June 5, 2015
The article, by Spiegel Online editor-in-chief, Florian Harms, quotes two sentences he wishes the magazine had written using the conditional, instead of indicative mood.
One, is the last paragraph from the very first article Der Spiegel dedicated to the Bellingcat MH17 report: “Yet the Bellingcat experts have now exposed this very [Russian satellite] picture as fake.”
The other, is the headline of an article published on the same day, June 1, titled “How Russia manipulated the MH17 evidence.” Here too a more cautious formulation in the conditional was called for, admits Harms.
Harms justifiably recalls that, already on June 3, Der Spiegel published an interview with image forensic expert Jens Kriese who was quoted, right from the headline, as saying that: “Bellingcat engages in reading tea leaves.”
Had his article not already been published, Harns could have added that again, Der Spiegel exposed, on June 5, one of the authors of the by now fully discredited Bellingcat MH17 report as a former Stasi employee.
Hence, that Der Spiegel should apologize to its readers for what are mistakes made, after all, only in the initial phase of its coverage of the Bellingcat report, is testament to its newly found journalistic integrity. It was not always like that.