UPDATE: I just spoke with Robyn Urman, the rescue worker who contacted CBS News New York with the original story. Here’s what she told me:
I had heard [from Mervat Said – who made the original weaponised puppies allegation] that there were different dogs [in Cairo] that were in a bad way and this email said that the Muslim Brotherhood were lighting them on fire and throwing them at the police. And all I said is that I would take them. In the rescue world I don’t question [the allegations] I just try to help. I see horror every day here and I can’t change that but I can help by relocating [mistreated animals]. It wasn’t meant to segregate people; this was supposed to be a feel good story.
This caught my eye this week.
Apparently, according to CBS news, examiner.com, the Huffington Post and Israel National News, among others, the Muslim Brotherhood has employed a macabre new tactic in their protests against the coup that ousted President Mohammed Morsi and that killed hundreds of their supporters.
MB protesters are…wait for it…making bombs out of puppies.
Except their not, obviously. Because that would be ludicrous. I’ve contacted the pet worker who made this quite bizarre claim and will update if and when I hear anything from her. The animal service she lists on her Facebook page gets you through to this site, so perhaps you can ask too. Perhaps the real question is why media outlets published this in the first place, and that might be down to the fact that it involved the Brotherhood and every westerner knows they are capable of the most diabolical plots. Or not.
Anyway, here’s how the reporting of the totally and utterly unsubstantiated allegations – which basically amount to someone 5000 miles away thinking up the cruellest thing possible (Puppy Bombs!) and then blaming the Muslim Brotherhood – here’s how it went down:
CBS News’ Amy Dardashtian apparently reports “two weeks ago” that Brotherhood protesters were dousing dogs in petrol in preparedness to throwing them at police:
Only a few hours later was it realised that these claims were as ludicrous as they sound. So CBS does the honourable thing. Change the story and hope no one notices:
CBS was not the only news outlet that got drawn in by the story. Here’s the Huffington Post’s original version:
In fairness to HuffPo, the journalist in question has altered the story, although the entirely unsubstantiated accusation still features in the lede below this rather brilliant quote from Guardian journalist Patrick Kingsley:
And people say the Western media is biased towards the Muslim Brotherhood.
(Thanks to Austin Mackell for the tip-off).