To: NPR Ombudsman
From: Mark Tokarski
Regarding: Weekend Edition, Sunday, July 20, 2014
On your Weekend Edition this morning … the host was interviewing someone at the crash site of the airliner in Eastern Ukraine, and made two inferences: 1) Rebels are stealing bodies, and 2) (and this was so clever), he repeated an accusation by Kiev that rebels were altering the crash site. The on-site person said yes, indeed, people had said that wreckage seen the day before was not present the following day.
Got that? Here’s what we know: A reporter gave second-hand knowledge of missing debris. The host allowed the Kiev accusation through without a rebel response to the accusation. The inference of the news report: Rebels have altered the crash site.
What do we know for certain? Nothing. Agents of CIA, MI6, or Kiev could have as easily removed debris, stolen bodies, altered the crash sites. But NPR only infers rebel activity in the matter.
NPR is subtly inferring the the rebels shot down the airliner.
(This is not part of the message to the ombudsman): It was apparent, reading between the lines, that the crash site is not secure, so that the investigation is already compromised. Further, NPR reported that official investigative work has not yet started, that the investigators are in Kiev. I think it safe to say that the anti-Kiev rebels are going to get the Lockerbie treatment.
Score one for the rebels: They have control of the black boxes.
“Aircraft parts looking like black boxes were found at the site of the plane crash. They are currently in Donetsk, in the People’s Republic’s (DPR) government headquarters, under my personal control,” Aleksandr Boroday, the republic’s prime minister, told reporters.
The self-defense forces are ready to hand the data recorders over to international monitors “in case they arrive,” he said.
JC has some links in the comments below that are quite informative, one of a video put out by the Ukrainian government that asserts evidence that the rebel forces shot down the airliner. The problem with it is that it was, ahem, made before the plane crashed – it is time-stamped, and has been pulled down, but just like Dr. Laura’s nude pictures, gentlemen, once they go out, you cannot get them back.
The other is some mathematical/calculus analysis of the crash, which is above my pay grade.