04 August 2009

Canadian Press and CBC desperately need online fact checker

Someone needs to start doing some fact checking on stories posted on CBC’s web site.

A Canadian Press story on a Russian Proton K rocket contains this claim:

The Proton-K re-entry was reminiscent of a 2005 incident, when a U.S. military rocket splashed down in the vicinity of the Hibernia oil platform, on Newfoundland's Grand Banks, shortly after its launch from Florida.

The planned launch of the Titan IV B-30 rocket prompted Premier Danny Williams to order an evacuation of several offshore-oil platforms.

But the order was soon rescinded when American air force officials assured Ottawa the risks were small and the rocket would be destroyed if it veered off course.

None of it happened.

1.  Danny Williams didn’t order an evacuation of rigs – he doesn’t have the legal authority.

2.  Danny didn’t rescind the order not only because he didn’t give it  in the first place but because the evacuation  - or more accurately, a removal of non-essential personnel - went ahead. 

3.  The assurances from American authorities were the same all the way through the sorry-assed episode. The government reaction went through a few permutations mostly as people stopped making asses of themselves in public but nothing the Americans said produced any changes in the provincial government reaction.

4.  The Titan didn’t “splash down”.  The booster section broke up as it returned to Earth, as predicted. 

5.  The thing also wasn’t near the Hibernia rig unless more than 100 kilometres away is “near”.

Seriously, people.  This stuff happened within the past five years.  The facts are readily accessible on line.  It’s astonishing that CP would cock it up that badly and CBC would let the cock-up stand.

CP and CBC need a fact checker.