The upheaval in Kyrgyzstan has seized the media’s attention, but it’s mostly just highlighted how little the major newspapers know about the region and how quick they are to put unsubstantiated facts up.
The NY Times immediately reported that Bakiev had fled the country, which is a bold statement considering Cliff Levy is probably reporting from Moscow and not Bishkek. They’ve now taken a more tepid approach.
BBC also got in on the action of declaring Bakiev toppled, saying,
The Agence France-Presse news agency quoted an airport employee as saying that Mr Bakiyev had flown out of Bishkek aboard a small plane.
Ah, the third hand quote. Now that’s good journalism. In actuality, Bakiev has left the capital to open a shashlik stand in Osh, or so my cousin’s husband’s third grade teacher’s dog-walker claims.
Several other news sources have claimed Bakiev fled, citing rt.com’s report. RT.com? Not to disparage RT, but can’t the media just wait until someone ACTUALLY knows something?
In all likelihood Bakiev is done for, but fact-checking never killed anybody, even if it slows down a story.