Oh dear. With Scotland Yard treating today’s attack in Westminster this afternoon ‘as a terrorist incident’, hacks have spent the day trying to establish more details about the situation that has so far claimed four casualties. However, has a thirst for news meant some are a bit too eager to publish before properly checking the facts?
Mr S only asks after Channel 4 had to perform a humiliating U-turn this evening live on air. At the beginning of Channel 4’s 7 O’clock news bulletin, the broadcaster announced that they had reason to believe Abu Izzadeen, the Islamic hate preacher, was the Westminster terror attacker.
However as the show went on, this ‘scoop’ began to unravel. You see there was a problem… sources suggested that Izzadeen couldn’t have been in Westminster as he is actually in jail. As the broadcaster got wind of this, Simon Israel — Channel 4’s senior home affairs correspondent — had to tell viewers that they were ‘not as certain about identity of the attacker as we thought’ due to “new information” that he was in prison. New information? Or information that could have been secured by a couple more phone calls? Izzadeen’s name was on Twitter; a lot of journalists had heard it. And fairly soon they also heard that contact Izzadeen’s solicitor was saying his client was still in the clink.
Finally the show ended with Jon Snow announcing that Izzadeen’s brother had got in touch to advise them that his sibling is, indeed, in prison.
Channel 4 has since issued a statement, stating that they are ‘looking into’ the situation:
Statement from Channel 4 News pic.twitter.com/34QLcQasLI
— Hayley Barlow (@Hayley_Barlow) March 22, 2017
Watch this space…