Sunday, February 7

News From Nowhere

The newspapers in Cape Town put up "abridged stories" on posters around town on a daily basis. These are actually just headlines meant to sucker you into buying the paper. This time they almost got me. I saw the following headline on my Friday drive back from work, and even signed up for their free online trial so I could read the story.

Man, 69, dies after baboon shoves him
Cape Times
05 Feb 2010

AN ELDERLY man died after a baboon knocked him off a ramp at a Simon’s Town shelter for homeless people, leading to renewed calls for authorities to ensure the baboon troop in the area gets monitored. Michael Bates, 69, a resident of the Happy Valley...read more...
This is an example of bad reporting. The headline is technically correct, but extremely misleading. Here's the truth, buried deeper in the story:
Happy Valley Home manager Cindy Dollery said: “It was a freak accident. I’ve been told that one of the residents threw a jug of water at the baboon and, as it ran out, Mr Bates was knocked down. He died in his sleep on Sunday.
...which was three days later (the story being published five days after this).

Way to infer a causative link on some the flimsiest evidence imaginable, Cape Times.

Addendum: I went out last night, and majority of people I talked with asked me about this "news." And I was very pleased to be able to explain to them the disgusting truth of the matter. Most people's reactions: "Three days? Seriously?"

1 comment:

  1. It's my understanding that every animal researcher from the 19th century was later found dead after conducting their research. Perhaps we ought to discontinue all funding until the trend stops.