Yesterday, a bunch of environmental and social
activists staged what they were pleased to call a “massive” walkout
from the UN climate change conference venue in Warsaw. I watched it
take place and took some cell phone photos, and then reported
that perhaps a 100 activists, or to be really generous, maybe 150,
“massively” walked out.
I returned on Friday to the conference where I hear it repeated
numerous times by various remaining members of “civil society” that
800 activists had actually joined the walkout. Then I start
googling around and find that some news outlets had reported that
number as being factually so, e.g,. Reuters,
Environment News Service, and
Amusingly, as I walked into the National Stadium today, I
overhead the following conversation between two young activists
while we three waited to hand over our coats at the cloakroom:
He: I walked out yesterday, did you?
She: Yes, but I had to walk back in almost immediately because
we had meeting with a delegation.
I kid you not.
When I was a reporter in Central America, I was introduced to
the concept of “lying for justice” by some supporters of the
Sandinistas who explained to me that sometimes one had to tell lies
in order to be heard.
Reports exaggerating theatrical performances of this sort are a
disservice to readers, listeners, and viewers of the news.
from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/22/mythmaking-and-massive-walkouts-at-warsa