Commentary: Czech media publish manipulative news item about slaughtered sheep and an "evil Turk"
Today we are reporting yet another case study on the topic of "journalists in Czech media who could easily be replaced by monkeys. Even untrained ones."
News server Echo24.cz has published a critical news item about a nice Austrian man who let an evil Turk graze the Austrian man's herd of sheep, 79 of whom the evil Turk then allegedly ritually slaughtered to celebrate the Muslim Feast of Sacrifice. The article does not mention anybody's names or any other concrete information, which is usually a reliable indicator of a hoax.
Echo24.cz lists a news server called The Local as the source of its information. A first glance at the source article reveals that the journalists at Echo24 cannot read English, because the original article reports that the nice Austrian man actually just "loaned" his pasture to the evil Turk, not his herd.
So the evil Turk, in the source version of the story, wasn't so evil after all, because he slaughtered his own sheep, not somebody else's entrusted to his care. The original article, however, also lacks concrete information that would make it easy to verify.
What it does include, however, is a mention of the very first source for this story, which is a news agency called Central European News (CEN). Yes, this is exactly the new agency that is known to anybody who spends longer than five minutes in the media field for producing bizarre hoaxes used by online media outlets (especially less serious ones) to fill their columns with curiosities and inevitably attract "likes" and shares.
More about the practices of CEN can be found in the Bachelor's thesis by Bc. Veronika Čáslavská, entitled "Spread of journalistic hoaxes in Czech media: the case of Central European News agency" (Šíření tzv. novinářských kachen v českých médiích na příkladu agentury Central European News) or in the by now legendary article on BuzzFeed called "The King of Bullsh*t News". Čáslavská describes CEN has having become infamous for pieces with headlines like "Poles expel hermaphroditic Winnie the Pooh from playground", or "Justin Bieber saves Russian man from bear attack", or "Chinese man has a body full of worms from eating sushi".
Now the Echo24 website has chosen a report that is suspicious at first glance from an infamous, notoriously unreliable source, failed to correctly understand it, and rewritten it in a form that is nothing but total disinformation. (P.S: According to Muslim tradition, Abraham sacrificed Ishmael - not Isaac, as Echo24 has reported.)
UPDATE: On 18 September, Echo24 corrected its version of the article described above.
First published in Czech on news server Manipulátoři.cz.
- Czech-language hoaxes deceive online with footage from feature films and news reports
- Czech-language Internet again spreading hoax about "free medicine for Roma"
- Czech-language online hoax alleging Prague terrorist attack now spreading among Slovaks and stealing Facebook passwords
- Czech Republic: Politician spreads hoax that Roma get washing machines for free
- Czech-language online hoax alleges terrorist attack in Prague in order to steal personal data
- The online hoax phenomenon and how to address it
- Czech-language internet users, Roma included, fall for debunked hoax about mass wedding of adults and children
- Czech Republic: Anti-refugee hoax online after gas station attendants mistake Roma from Slovakia for "refugees"
- EU Justice Ministers call on Facebook to be stricter about removing hoaxes and threats
- Yet another Czech tabloid news server perpetrates a racist hoax
- Czech Republic: HateFree Culture project refutes online hoaxes about refugees
- Czech tabloid report on Romani political party may be a hoax
- Hoax party ridicules Czech Christian Democrat leader Cunek
- Italian court upholds acquittal and exoneration of captain who rescued migrants
- Commentary: Which Czech media outlets can we take seriously?
- Academic Huub van Baar has found Romani people succeed on the labor market when given a chance
- Patrik Banga: Social media is depriving us of context and driving us all crazy
- Scholars gather in Czech capital to discuss migrations and mobilities of Romani people
- Slovak Fascists want to change laws about online media to prevent libel
- EU citizens in the UK - many of them Roma - requesting "settled status" so they can live and work there after Brexit
- Czech racists spread their annual summertime lies about free entry to swimming pools for Romani people
- Antigypsyist hoax returns to Czech Internet alleging that Roma get free public transportation
- Czech SocDem chair threatens to bring down Govt if ultranationalist nominee appointed to Czech News Agency board
- High schoolers in the Czech capital don't discuss minorities, poll finds they distrust media and politicians
- Russian military television grossly exaggerates Czech turnout for anti-EU demonstration