Credibility Issues – BoingBoing

[UPDATE: If you’re coming from a Wikinews discussion page, please note that there’s no video here, just a link posted in the comments to this post by “Jeremy Southeby”.]

Hey Mark Frauenfelder, I’m having a bit of a problem with this BoingBoing post.

It’s a story pulled from a super-tight-tinfoil-hat September 11th conspiracy sort of site, albeit one with style and graphics that make it seem like a pretty credible news site. That’s it. That’s the only source for the story.

I’m not going to link to all the sites involved here – you can follow the thread from BoingBoing for yourselves if you choose to.

A former Scotland Yard anti-terrorism honcho, Peter Power, who now works in private enterprise as the Managing Director of a sort of crisis-management company, Visor Consultants, says on BBC Radio 5 on the night of July 7th that they had been running a security exercise of some sort the morning of the bombings. Maybe. I can’t find any BBC transcripts or audio to verify this right now.

BoingBoing quotes this from the conspiracy site:

“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.”

Based on the conspiracy site’s report and transcript, in the added context of his own post, Frauenfelder echoes that the exercises were being run at the same times and stations as the bombings.

The problem is, a quick Lexis-Nexis search on Power leads to more recent stories where he clarifies things a bit…or muddles them. On this morning, (July 11th) on Canada AM on CTV (this is what Lexis-Nexis brings me…I don’t know enough about Canadian media to make a value judgment of the show), Power said:

“Yes, but it’s not by coincidence. You have to remember that the United Kingdom has been on a state of alert for many years …There have been exercises on the Tubetrains — many, many exercises. Indeed, one exercise between the fourth and the tenth of April involved Canada, the United States and Great Britain, working simultaneously against a possible chemical/biological attack by terrorists. But on the morning of the bomb last week, my company — we were actually involved in a small company, by large standards anyway — in the city of London were running an exercise, the scenario of which was very similar to the one that happened.”

He’s backed off significantly from “precisely”…

All I’m asking is why BoingBoing would publish something like this based on some very questionable reporting by a clearly not-credible source. It’s funny to hear myself say that (well, write it), and my tinfoil hat is generally tighter than the next guy’s, but at least update the post or give a little context.

[UPDATE: Visor Consultants responds, via the discussion page for the Wikipedia entry on the London Bombings.]

[tags]boingboing, frauenfelder, london[/tags]

3 Replies to “Credibility Issues – BoingBoing”

  1. “not-credible source” … did you listen? to the BBC recording? Powers also appears on television, here-

    http://www.terrorize.dk/misc/london/london.terror.games.wmv

    Now, if you believe that this footage was faked, then you should be informed that your conspiracy theories are bigger than that of the BoingBoing post.

    As things stand now, you can erase the source that brought the lead to BoingBoing – Powers and the interview are for real, so deal with the facts of the matter – Powers and his company *were* running an exercise .

    http://www.onlinejournal.com/Special_Reports/071105Watson/071105watson.html

  2. Jeremy – I believe it – I’ve listened – the BBC is credible – so why doesn’t BoingBoing update the post with links to audio and video? Last I checked, all they were linking to was still the one source.

    In a lot of ways, I think looking at a Technorati search on “Visor Consultants” or “Peter Power” is a much better way to get information on this story. I have the impression that BoingBoing got an email with the story and just linked to it without any sort of cursory glance at other stories on the same topic.

    BoingBoing’s post has been up about 12 hours, and in that time they’ve updated a story called “Man inflates forehead for art” 3 times…

  3. i heard this same story on the bbc radio, didn’t read it on boingboing till later.
    not the exact link referrences you want? because theyre lazy and are onto the the next idea/story/thought etc. NEXT.

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