The Untrustworthy & Unethical Reporting of IOL News

Earlier today (Sunday 2013/04/07) IOL News posted an article claiming former South African president Thabo Mbeki drove without a vehicle licence in the 1940s.

20130407_iol_pre-edited_article

Needless to say this kicked up quite a fuss in the comments section once everyone started realising he was only born in 1942. The dates in the article made no sense. He learned to drive in 1961, was born in 1942, but drove without a licence in the 1940s? Surely not.

20130407_iol_comments

IOL has since edited the article without stating what changes were made.

This is the current version: http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/mbeki-drove-without-a-licence-report-1.1496477#.UWFlBxyovdd

The only indication that an edit was made is the line:

“*This article was edited at 12:08 on April 7, 2013″

Further, it appears that the comments captured in the image above have since been deleted. I searched as much as possible amongst the poorly laid out Disqus comments but could not find a single original comment. Looking at the comments from oldest to newest, I’d expect the original four comments to show up since they were the first comments on the article. Not only are they absent but the only one of them that seems to still be there is by Tom Blast, who doesn’t say anything about the date mix-up.

20130407_iol_comments_deleted

Okay, it’s an arbitrary story and I’ll be surprised if anyone really cares about it, but this is bad form and kak journalism. How are readers supposed to trust a news source if comments that disagree with the content are deleted and facts are edited without notification? Hell, even Wikipedia gets that part right. IOL, get your shit together.

  1. #1 by jdnva on April 8, 2013 - 04:59

    hahahahah!

    Fair and transparent press for the win! Chances are it was an editing/proof error on a rather poor piece any how.

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