Wednesday, January 3, 2018

UK Mail Online & London Evening Standard disappear stories about bogus mid-show "Heimlich" choking rescue by comic Ed Byrne [UPDATES: UK & US media watchdogs pick up my story; Canadian Broadcasting newsmagazine interviewed me; after receiving my inquiry, the Evening Standard published a re-write by reporter Martin Coulter admitting he got punk'd by a source; eight months after disappearing their story, the Mail Online published a correction after I filed a complaint with IPSO]

My original story is below the red hash marks.

1/4/17 UPDATE

John Reynolds at the UK Press Gazette -- which, according to its website, "has been reporting on British journalism without fear or favour since 1965" -- picked up the story and credited me. The article includes this new reporting:
Owen Conlon, assistant news editor of the Irish Sun, said on Twitter: “While both papers should have checked with Byrne, this was a deliberate attempt to get false information in. Irish Sun spoke to same woman. When told Byrne denied it, she replied: ‘He’s probably being modest.'”
1/10/17 UPDATE

Sydney Smith at US press watchdog iMedia Ethics picked up the story and credited me. Her article includes:
iMediaEthics has contacted both the Standard and Mail to ask how they learned about the story, how they attempted to fact check and if they are or have published corrections.
Click here for inquiries I sent to both papers on January 5.

As It Happens, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's radio news magazine, saw Sydney's story and aired an interview I did with co-host Carol Off. Click here for the audio and the transcript which includes:
Ed Byrne is a well-known Irish comedian. And He's pretty funny. In fact, he’s so funny you could die laughing, unless he saves you. And if you’re a reader of the London Evening Standard and the Daily Mail, you could almost believe Mr. Byrne had done just that, by saving an audience member from choking at one of his shows. But when one investigative blogger heard the choking story, something about it stuck in his craw. So he decided to get to the bottom of it. 
...PETER: (Ed Byrne) and I have exchanged a couple of tweets. Earlier today, I tweeted that I was confident that he should be able to get five minutes of stand-up out of this.
2/19/18 UPDATE:

Two days after I asked London Evening Standard editor George Osborne to address the matter, the paper published a thorough re-write at the original URL by reporter Martin Coulter, who admitted he got punk'd by a source ("Morgan Wilson").

9/11/18 UPDATE: Mail Online’s bogus Heimlich story finally gets correction by Sydney Smith, IMediaEthics
(Peter) Heimlich complained to IPSO over the (bogus) article, noting it was a fake story and calling out the Mail for failing to fact check or publishing a correction. Heimlich told iMediaEthics he complained to IPSO since he never received any response to his emails to editors and staffers at the Mail Online. “Little did I realize that what should have been a simple fix turned into a seven-month bureaucratic runaround with IPSO making me jump through endless hoops in literally dozens of back and forth e-mails. And after all that, IPSO gave the MailOnline a pass, even though the paper tried to deceive readers by sending the story down the memory hole. It made me wonder if IPSO chose to put the interests of a member publication over journalism ethics.”


Screenshot from London Evening Standard story by Martin Coulter

Two leading UK newspapers have disappeared a bogus story without informing readers that their reporters got hosed by a source.

Via Google News, here are screen shots of articles by reporters Alexander Matthews of the Mail Online* and Martin Coulter of the London Evening Standard:

Last night I tweeted this inquiry to Mr. Matthews and to Mr. Byrne:


Published four hours ago by the Bradford Telegraph & Argus:


The Mail Online and Evening Standard articles are now MIA with no indication to readers why the articles were disappeared:



I'll follow up with both papers and report the results.

Click here for a re-publication of Mr. Matthews' Mail Online story.

Click here for a cached version of Mr. Coulter's Evening Standard story.

As it happens, this isn't Byrne's first "Heimlich headline."

From a couple years ago:


* In my original post, I mistakenly called the publication the Daily Mail rather than the Mail Online. Regret the error!