Also every few years, some scandalized tipster puts a bug in the Fourth Estate's ear that a bunch of 20-somethings in peak physical condition, high on adrenaline, and crammed together in dormitories so snug that everybody can smell the cologne Ryan Lochte dips his testicles in before bedtime might be -- get this -- sexually active.
Listen, that's not a groundbreaking story, but there's nothing inherently wrong with it. Until, as New Media is often wont to do, The Daily Beast thought they'd turn the goddamn game on it's ear by -- and you're going to think this is just a hoot and a half -- paying one of their straight, married reporters to go on Grindr, pose as gay, and lure gay Olympians into conversation. You know, like a trap.
Like a fun trap.
Don't worry -- in the writer's own words, he "didn't lie to anyone." After they showed up, and only if they actively caught him out. In that case, he freely "confessed to being a journalist" right "as soon as anyone asked who [he] was." Ethics!
The Washington PostThat was obviously the consensus from their peers.
The article then proceeds to out a bunch of closeted athletes to the public by publishing not-so-circumspect descriptions of all the gay men in question. And if that's not insane enough for you, the writer himself admits that some of the athletes live in "notoriously homophobic" countries, which is the reason they remain closeted. So in summary, The Daily Beast happily risked the lives of several strangers because they were homosexual, and they did it all for nothing. Because at the end of the day, that story was still about the Olympics, and the world at large doesn't really give a damn about the Olympics.
The WHO Once Claimed Greek People Were Infecting Themselves With HIV For Cash
Six years ago, the World Health Organization let everybody in on some rather shocking news: About half of all the new HIV cases in Greece were self-inflicted. That's right, people were giving themselves HIV in order to suckle on the sweet money-teat of their nanny state. Naturally, Fox Business, Rush Limbaugh, Al Jazeera, Drudge Report, and The Daily Mail ran with this story unchecked ... because look at the names of those media outlets again.
EIB NetworkClearly we’re in for a civil, evidence-based response.
It was a total blockbuster story, but there was one small problem: It was all lies. It only took about 24 hours of real investigative journalism to upend the assertion, because of course hundreds of Greek people weren't giving themselves HIV. Fox Business jabbed a condemning finger at the WHO, because they really didn't need any help looking like idiots, at which point the WHO scrambled to retract their whole "AIDS? More Like 'Made In The Shades" expose.
It turns out that one sentence in the WHO report -- the one about half of all HIV cases being self-inflicted -- was quoting another report in The Lancet. Meanwhile, that Lancet report was itself quoting a third report by an organization called the Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Problem was, every time the passage got re-quoted, it became more and more inflammatory.
The original report read: "An additional factor the committee believed worth considering is the well-founded suspicion that some problem users are intentionally infected with HIV." But there was no data attached to that claim; it was nothing but a suspicion some committee had. Then, when The Lancet quoted that report, the assertion became: "An authoritative report described accounts of deliberate self-infection by a few individuals to obtain access to benefits of 700 euro per month and faster admission onto drug substitution programmes." That escalation finally mutated into the WHO's weirdly specific: "HIV rates and heroin use have risen significantly, with about half of new HIV infections being self-inflicted to enable people to receive benefits of 700 euro per month and faster admission on to drug-substitution programmes."
So the claim went from "Our committee has this crazy hunch that somewhere out there, some lazy Greek bastard is giving himself HIV in exchange for $1,000 a month" to "An authoritative study proves that some Greek people give themselves HIV for drugs and money" to "HALF OF ALL GREEK PEOPLE ARE GIVING THEMSELVES HIV, THE RATS ARE IN THE CORN, ABANDON ALL HOPE."
J.C. Breen lives and works in New York City. If you liked this article, be sure to follow this here link to his website, where you can dig through his more alienating, less financially viable work.
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