Lay Off Lucy Pawle…but not CNN…

Update: Obviously the above video got yanked within an hour or so after this blog post went up. It had 3,000,000 plus views. If it was CNN, and given the network’s behavior in this matter I wouldn’t rule it out, it took them long enough.

I’ve watched with increasing alarm as the ISIS non-flag/Lucy Pawle/CNN story has crossed more than a few boundaries the past few days. I’m finding that there’s a lot of conclusion jumping going on here; something that hasn’t been helped by a typically sloppy media writer class.

So let’s try to separate the facts from the fiction…

Fact #1. Pawle never said it was a genuine ISIS flag. At the top of her report she clearly stated it was a “very bad mimicry”…”a clear attempt to mimic”…and that it was loaded with “gobbledygook”. We all now know what the gobbledygook was.

Fact #2. Pawle wasn’t the first one to notice the flag publicly. At least one other person noticed it before that and, as it would turn out, it was a very important person. @argana79 posted on Twitter about it…

ISIS at #LondonPride
The best ever 🙌

This was the proverbial snowball starting down the mountain because Pawle saw this tweet and wanted the location

@Argana79 where did you see that?!

And Pawle got her response

@lucypawle Baker street

The rest is history infamy…

Fact #3. Pawle most likely did not deny on Twitter reporting what she reported on CNN.

Waitaminute! Everyone is writing that she did deny reporting it on Twitter. What drugs are you on?

Just because they write that doesn’t make it so, especially when the available evidence strongly suggests the exact opposite.

What evidence? We got her dead to rights!

@Paddy0pedobom I reported no such thing

Do you? Do you really? Or do just think you do and you’re too sloppy to do any real reporting on the matter that you accept the superficial explanation?

Ok, since nobody else has bothered to do this rather obvious exercise, I’ll walk you through it…

The “smoking gun” tweet, the one every sloppy media writer out there says means Pawle is denying her CNN report, has a timestamp of 10:49am on June 27th.

However, half an hour before that at 10:16am, Pawle retweeted two tweets from others that explained just what was on that flag.

Retweet #1:

@lucypawle the ISIS flag at the Pride parade looked like gibberish because the “text” was actually outlines of sex toys. Obviously satire.

Retweet #2:

.@lucypawle The markings on that flag isn’t Arabic. It’s dildos.

Now, why would someone who publicly put out retweets that essentially made a mess of their earlier on air reporting decide half an hour later to deny the reporting? It doesn’t pass the smell test.

The problem here is we don’t know what Pawle is responding to since whoever that tweet was meant for doesn’t have an account any more. I wouldn’t blame them for deleting their account after it got slammed by thousands of tweets. It took me 45 minutes to work back through a search of all tweets with Pawle’s Twitter handle in them to get back to the point in time when Pawle responded to that tweet. That’s a lot of tweets to PageDown through for 45 minutes. I just wanted to be sure that Pawle’s response tweet didn’t have a typo in the recipient’s Twitter handle. I didn’t find anyone with a handle approximating “@Paddy0pedobom” sending tweets Pawle’s way. So it is very likely that our anonymous accuser made the accusation and then deleted their account at some point in the hours after this went viral.

Side note: Some idiot has just set up a bogus account under the accuser’s handle. Don’t fall for it. Their oldest tweet is from today.

All we know with 100% certitude is Pawle denied whatever accusation our mystery accuser made.

That’s it.

We don’t know the accusation. We don’t know if the accusation was valid. We don’t know if the accusation was invalid.

And yet, despite all that ambiguity…the lack of knowledge of the accusation Pawle shot down, the fact that the denial came half an hour after Pawle consciously retweeted two tweets that essentially made herself look bad…despite all that…we have only one unambiguous conclusion to jump to; Pawle denied her own report

It just makes me shake my head sometimes…

Pawle is getting crucified right now and some of the people screaming bloody murder don’t have a firm grip on the facts. A new narrative has replaced reality, one based on in-exactitude and shallowness. If you’re going to hype the story, hype it with the facts.

I’m not letting Pawle off the hook, mind you. No, she is a party to this mess, so she bears some responsibility. But the bulk of the blame belongs with CNN’s weekend news operation infrastructure.

This didn’t happen in a vacuum. Pawle didn’t just bully her way on to the air. For Pawle’s story to make air it had to go through several layers of staff. The graphics department had to be involved (great eyes guys). Producers were involved. There was enough lead time that CNN got Peter Bergen to Skype in.

The point being there was ample time to check this out. There were numerous points in the process of getting to air where this flag could have been identified for what it was. But nobody caught on. I can excuse Pawle. She was chasing down a story she picked up on from Twitter. She shot some photos and sent them back to CNN.

It was CNN that decided to take it to the next level.

It was CNN that failed to properly vet the story…

It was CNN that failed to ask the proper questions of its reporter in the field and to check with its terrorism experts about the flag prior to air. That is something that needed to be done since Pawle led her story by essentially admitting it wasn’t a real ISIS flag at the top of her report and the production team had to have known this when they debriefed her prior to air.

Pawle isn’t innocent. But she is hardly deserving of the level of scorn she has received, especially given all the inaccuracies swirling about what she’s being accused of doing. Her career is probably over for the time being. I don’t think the punishment fits the crime at all.

CNN, on the other hand, deserves every bad word that gets penned over this story. This is especially true since it’s obvious to all that the network’s internal mechanisms failed and yet the network has gone quiet, stupidly yanking down the video after it went viral, and refusing to comment publicly about a journalistic failure of its internal controls.

Hell, even FNC commented when Shep announced that the Pope was dead…before he was dead. CNN owes its viewers an explanation.

The funny thing is this is still a real story. ISIS takes a dim view of 1) homosexuality and 2) being mocked. After Charlie Hebdo, this flag, especially given what’s on this flag, makes this story something you just can’t dismiss as a nothingburger.

Of course, nobody cares about that now. All that they care about is that CNN can’t tell an ISIS flag from a flag full of dildos and buttplugs (even though their reporter said it wasn’t a real flag) and that their reporter is denying her report (even though she most likely didn’t deny her report). Welcome to the internet media world. Hope you enjoy the show.

3 Responses to “Lay Off Lucy Pawle…but not CNN…”

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