You forgot the truth

If you saw this bit of nonsense in the Daily Telegraph today then you probably just shrugged it off.

This piece of ‘journalism’ is prompted by a You Forgot the Birds press release and the details were not, I am told, checked with either Natural England or the RSPB.  The YFTB press release was entitled The RSPB: Specialists In Failure Who Don’t Protect Birds which gives a good indication of where it is coming from.

You Forgot the Birds is funded, remember, by ‘the British grouse industry’.

There is no ‘government report’ either published or in the pipeline – a press release from Natural England, in association with the RSPB and Moorland Association is expected later this afternoon. It is not expected to resemble the story in the Daily Telegraph. We’ll see.

If the non-report was not checked with Natural England or the RSPB, I wonder whether it was checked by the Moorland Association? Maybe they would tell us.

When the British grouse industry put this type of unchecked story into their pet newspapers then it really does make one wonder whether or not we should just ban driven grouse shooting to teach them a lesson – but there are a host of other good reasons too (read them here).


19 Replies to “You forgot the truth”

  1. I tried to (shrug it off) then thought about the thousands of DT readers who might have lapped up every word. Momentarily depressed, but remembered what’s happening this weekend…

    1. or ‘torygaff’

      Are there any decent, preferably independent newspapers remaining? Apologies for daft question ….

  2. Wow, the ‘British grouse shooting industry’ must be seriously rattled.

    Surely the RSPB will have a strong case for taking legal action against the Telegraph for this appallingly shoddy piece of ‘journalism’?

    1. Good point, hope RSPB really goes to town on this legally – would underscore to public how ludicrous original article was. I assume Botham’s ‘case’ against the RSPB has come to nothing, except a bit of publicity for YFtB.

  3. The RSPB lobbies and takes action to make grouse shoots obey the law. Some in the shooting industry lobby back. Admission of guilt?

  4. The RSPB fails to protect hen harriers? Who from exactly? If these birds were not used as target practice every time they ventured anywhere near a grouse moor there would be a lot more of them for bird watchers to see. Will the Torygraph have a reporter there on Sunday I wonder?

  5. Outrageous!
    Whilst the Telegraph has always been a newspaper of the right, I believe that once upon a time it was an honourable institution and would not have stooped to this. Those days are clearly long gone and the Telegraph is happy to wallow in the slime along with the rest of the gutter press.

  6. Maybe they have rattled RSPBs cage enough to get a response where the RSPB throws away the softly softly approach and takes a stronger attitude on behalf of Hen Harriers.
    Sorry RSPB they are simply laughing at you,suppose they are responsible for those nests failing and then blame RSPB.Laugh their sides are aching.
    Moral is get behind Mark’s petition with serious publicity of it to your members.

  7. It’s also really starting to get to me that the GWCT or is it GCT (game conservation trust) seem to supporting YFTB at every opportunity by sharing YFTB tosh at every chance they get … Then state they have nothing to do with them! Well it certainly doesn’t look like that and perhaps they should focus more engery trying to work with the RSPB rather than against them in trying to help hen harrier numbers recover!

  8. Six, Lies and Videotape. I demand to see the evidence. Oh, wait. Video evidence is no longer permissible as the RSPB may have entered the land ‘illegally’.

  9. Bloody hell, this is a bit like someone shooting(God forbid) a neighbours dog then accusing the grieving owner of neglect.

  10. I think it’s worth taking a look at the Independent Press Editors’ Code of Practice – point 1


    i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information…
    ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence and – where appropriate – an apology published…
    iii) The Press, whilst free to be partisan, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.

    Once it’s been made clear by Natural England that there is no report coming out, contrary to Ian Gregory, sorry, I meant to the Telegraph’s report, I’ll be writing to IPSO and I encourage other people to do the same.

    1. Press like the politicains who abuse positions or fix their own expenses have only guidelines or codes whereas the rest of us have to abide by rules, regulations and the law!

      Then there’s the ‘grouse industry’ with their PR spinners who are happy to accept public subsidies / agri-welfare payments and have the audacity to suggest they are Conservationists (& shoot Wildlife as a Game) – who do you Trust? CWGT?

      Bad journalism, good recruitment tool?

  11. I found out about this through my Twitter feed and had a read through.
    Mark, as you know, I enjoy my shooting, but my growing un-ease at this and other rubbish rolled out by the shooting ‘industry’, some organisations of which I am ‘currently’ a member, has maddened me so much that I signed your petition last night.
    I will be contacting BASC and the GCWCGT (sorry couldn’t resist) shortly.

  12. I suspect some, if not all, of these missives are produced with the objective of trying to goad the RSPB in to a reaction that they may later regret. Whilst the content is largely questionable in the Telegraph article, other publications by pro-grouse, anti biodiversity organisations are equally questionable given recent peer-reviewed science, I don’t think it would be worth the RSPB acting on them as it would be costly, both financially and in time. Resources better spent elsewhere.

    The irony is of course that the responses produced by these bodies are counterproductive. For those that believe them, they’ll do so anyway, regardless. But for the majority of the general public that happen upon the articles and explore further, that care about the wider world (be it nature conservation, human welfare etc), they will see through the misinformation quite easily. The public are not stupid when taken collectively. So, when ever these pro-grouse, anti-biodiversity organisations say, tweet or publish anything, it has, in little increments, the opposite of what they intend. Combined with the messages and communications presented professionally by the scientific community, their missives become ever more derisible. Basically, pro-grouse messages are saying, we want to kill wildlife but here are some (minor) benefits to society. Our message is, looking at the evidence in the round, the actions of a few are damaging for the many, culturally and financially; even for those who have never heard of hen harriers or been to a moorland but turn on a tap to get water (for example). Which is the more powerful and convincing message? Thus, every time the pro-grouse, anti-biodiversity lobby say something, they go backwards! Keep on saying something please!

    This is but one reason why the pro-grouse, anti biodiversity lobby are so rattled. The cat is out of the bag; and as any one who has been outraged by Cecil the Lion will tell you, they don’t like cats being associated with bags. Thus, Inglorious, Hen Harrier day, the constant stream of info relating to upland management on grouse moors is forcing the grouse moor lobbyists on the back foot. Time and again; again and again…and again. They have presented reasonable arguments that have been soundly and successfully rebutted. Now they are reduced to this. They are beaten, they know they are beaten but because of their insular upbringing, they cannot accept the inevitable.

    Keep up the pressure, because eventually the policy makers will hear the public anger and disquiet. Policy makers are not silly; they are not stupid. They will feel the wind of change and act accordingly. Its just a matter of time.

    1. Richard – great comment thanks! Not just because it is thoughtful and well-written, and not just because I like it – but because I believe it is true, too.

  13. When the grouse shooting industry has to resort to this outrageous ‘spin’ then they know that they have lost the argument!

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