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"Was it all a dream...F911"
July 11, 2005 9:36 AM   Subscribe

FT changes headline on Blair's statement. This morning, I picked up the paper copy of the Financial Times, scanned the headline, and harrumphed, remarking that "I had seen something like this before". Yesterday, the FT website had the same title - "Blair rejects calls for probe into bombings." Today, however, the headline has been changed to "Blair promises to hunt down bombers". (BTW, it's UK conservatives calling for a probe). Not only that, but the text in question is purged:
Tony Blair will on Monday reject Conservative demands for a government inquiry into last week's London bomb attacks, insisting such a move would distract from the task of catching the perpetrators.
Gentlemen, prepare your tinfoil hats!!
posted by rzklkng (19 comments total)

 
Is the point that between an online (presumably early release) of a story and the print edition the headline and one paragraph of text changed? Is it suprising that there will be differences when a story is published in a different medium, at a different time, and with different requirements (ie, an online headline and story don't have strict space limits like the print edition)?

That said, this also seems to be a one-relevant-link FPP.

The first link just goes to a trackback, making it a bit hard to figure out exactly what the problem is, and the last link just repeats the FPP almost verbatim. Could somebody enlighten me a bit?
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 9:59 AM on July 11, 2005


When I worked on the newsdesk of an international shortwave broadcaster, I wrote and rewrote the same piece up to a dozen times; changing facts, emphases, wording as the story developed or opinions or understanding changed.

I had no idea at the time I was part of a shadowy conspiracy.

Who should I contact for back wages?

(OT: This is the second bullshit conspiracy theory post in two day; might we have a rest, svp?)
posted by docgonzo at 10:06 AM on July 11, 2005


Not only that, but the original online version was in future tense. This just in, FT's inside information was just wrong. I hate tinfoil hat false alarms. This thing is delicate!
posted by Plutor at 10:06 AM on July 11, 2005


And to add a third point, most major newspapers publish more than one edition daily (local, national, international etc - sometimes more than one of each) and headline changes between each of those is quite common (specially the main headline).
posted by nkyad at 10:16 AM on July 11, 2005


I think someone really needs to make an aluminum cowboy hat one of these days soon. It would be stylish and would keep the aliens from reading your mind just as well as the tinfoil variety.

In regards to morphing headlines, I think conspiracy is a wee bit extreme for this, I think its probably better to call it editing.
posted by fenriq at 10:19 AM on July 11, 2005


In regards to morphing headlines, I think conspiracy is a wee bit extreme for this, I think its probably better to call it editing.

Maybe this thread should stand as an example of fitting a conspiracy to very routine actions with an utter lack of evidence presented to support it? Without the right context anything can seem like a conspiracy...

That said, another fun headline-changing antic is the fact that NYTimes.com headlines are often written on-the-fly as stories break and occasionally have misspellings in them that are caught within the hour. Conspiracy to undermine traditional english, or just sloppy writing?
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 10:26 AM on July 11, 2005


What sucks is that this takes away from a much better FPP conspiracy - that they were conducting a security test of the exact same locations the same day of the bombings

from a BBC interview
POWER: At half past nine this morning we were actually running an exercise for a company of over a thousand people in London based on simultaneous bombs going off precisely at the railway stations where it happened this morning, so I still have the hairs on the back of my neck standing up right now.

HOST: To get this quite straight, you were running an exercise to see how you would cope with this and it happened while you were running the exercise?

POWER: Precisely, and it was about half past nine this morning, we planned this for a company and for obvious reasons I don't want to reveal their name but they're listening and they'll know it. And we had a room full of crisis managers for the first time they'd met and so within five minutes we made a pretty rapid decision that this is the real one and so we went through the correct drills of activating crisis management procedures to jump from slow time to quick time thinking and so on.
would anybody be offended if i made an FPP out of that?
posted by destro at 10:28 AM on July 11, 2005


Just having listen to the BBC1 on my afternoon run through Hampstead Heath it seems that the FT might have changed the story to reflect a change in the story.

Michael Howard seems to be backing away from his call for an immediate probe, saying that when the dust settles there should be a study of the events leading up to and after the attacks to see if improvements could be made. He seemed to be very careful to clarify that no one is accusing or suggesting that the Labour government failed in any way, only that there is always something to be learned by an investigation and that is the reason he would support one.
posted by three blind mice at 10:29 AM on July 11, 2005


destro writes "would anybody be offended if i made an FPP out of that?"

Ahem. I mean, it's still on the front page and everything.
posted by clevershark at 10:41 AM on July 11, 2005


destro writes "What sucks is that this takes away from a much better FPP conspiracy"

er, no.

The exercise -- and no one here knows what those consist of -- were planned to go on at around 9:30 that morning (as per your quote). That would be some 30-40 minutes after the blasts. The news that it WAS bombs (and not a power surge) only surfaced around 9:30.

So, all in all, one can assume that none of Mr. Power's "interested parties" were actually in any of the Tube stations at the time anyway, if they didn't know it was happening until, as I said, 30-40 minutes after the fact.
posted by clevershark at 10:51 AM on July 11, 2005


Heh: "Peter Power"

/ watches too much Family Guy
posted by LordSludge at 11:03 AM on July 11, 2005


And "they" according to that interview blurb means a crisis management consultants and managers from a medium-sized company. "Exercises" according to that interview involves sitting in a conference room. Funny how this has been transformed into Peter Power's privateers planting pretense on platforms.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:13 AM on July 11, 2005


Peter Power's privateers planting pretense on platforms

Probably using PowerPoint for their Presentations as well.
posted by mrbill at 11:27 AM on July 11, 2005


Thank you for the link. here is another
posted by hortense at 11:31 AM on July 11, 2005


destro: we already had that one posted.

I think the most intresting one is that the UK government thinks it might have been "white" mercenaries hired by Al-Quaida. Possibly Ex-IRA?
posted by delmoi at 11:31 AM on July 11, 2005


What happens when the terrorists blend seamlessly into ANY population. In Arab populations, they are Arabs, In Africa, they are Africans, In the Philippines, they are Philippino, in Texas, they are drunk white guys driving Fords, and in London, they are Londoners.
posted by Balisong at 4:00 PM on July 11, 2005


I think the most intresting one is that the UK government thinks it might have been "white" mercenaries hired by Al-Quaida. Possibly Ex-IRA?

I bet we'll never hear that theory again. Mark my words.
posted by amberglow at 4:17 PM on July 11, 2005


I've been somewhat "eyebrow-arched" and interested in how an FPP on the Peter Power / BBC interview I submitted morphed into a conspiracy theory thread.

Personally, I thought the most interesting thing about the fact that it was reported that an exercise was taking place at the time of the bombings would have been how it affected the exercise...however, it seems that hardly no one else thought that angle was worth much consideration.

Surprising how things evolve, sometimes.

/arches_eyebrow
posted by Dunvegan at 8:14 PM on July 11, 2005


I think the interesting part of all of this is (1.) you would expect that the thoughts of such a statement about opposing an investigation is foolish and (2.) the lack of transparency is what gives conspiracies legitimacy. For example, "cell phone systems were overwhelmed by traffic". Bullsh*t! They shut down the cell networks because they couldn't be sure if that was how the bombs were detonated. But because they decide to promote a cover story that anyone with more than three firing neurons in their heads would know was likely not true, it becomes easy to spin wacky theories. It's just as silly as Bush needing to take the GPS system down - it's probably because any potential North Korean missle would use GPS for guidance. /totally baseless conjecture.
posted by rzklkng at 11:51 AM on July 12, 2005


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