It was, as it turned out, remarkably foolish, yesterday, to do what I did just to demonstrate a point – that despite all the scrounger rhetoric, for chronically sick and disabled people, often the simplest of tasks is an uphill, frequently unwinnable, battle.
I knew I’d pay for it today – I’m not an idiot – I just hadn’t realised how high the price would be. And the fact that I have a pot of brilliant vegetable – and vegetarian – soup seems small consolation right now, on a day dominated by extremes of pain and brain fog.
Thanks to the latter I was suckered by this article into writing a scathing, condemnatory, blog post. Look at it, it looks genuine – but it’s not. The thing is, anyone unfamiliar with that website, like me, could be excused for taking it at face value. After all, who would lie about a man dying during his Atos assessment?
Well, as it turned out, someone was happy to.
Normally, I would have gone straight to Google to try to verify it, but I felt so crap I didn’t, I just wrote the post. A good one too.
Someone on Twitter eventually pointed out that the source was a satirical website (and so it turned out when I dug a little deeper. The comments that you can see there now weren’t there when I first looked, otherwise I’d never have been taken in. I didn’t scroll down far enough to see the FB comments.
Anyway, I immediately deleted the text of the post, explaining why.
I have a major problem, though, with the idea that a flat-out lie is in any way humorous (it also sucked in a few people on Twitter too). It was about as hilarious as this egregious crap.
The ODE defines satire as “the use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues”.
The amount of humour, exaggeration, ridicule or irony contained in that piece is effectively zero. It’s only if you click on the “Legal” link that you find the satire claim – and how many normal people go straight to the legal info on a website?
So, yes, I was suckered, and I should have checked further, but by the same token this should never have been presented as cast-iron fact in the way that it is. And yes, I do realise – now – that there are hints that all might not be well, but easily missed, especially if you’re not looking for them.
Anyway, as always I took care not to libel anyone, because even deleted my post is going to haunt Google’s cache for weeks.
So, I’ve taken a screencap of the offending article, in case this whole shoddy affair goes belly up, to demonstrate the fact that it was presented as true, and there is nothing in it to suggest it wasn’t. That way, I think, both I and the other blogger can use it to support our contention that we commented on it in good faith. Which we did. If any libel exists it’s in the original, not in my post. I can’t speak for the other, I didn’t see it, but I’m familiar with the blogger and I doubt she’d resort to libel.
The bottom line then, for all bloggers, is always verify your sources (citing your sources should, of course, be a given). I didn’t check, today. I’ve explained why, but it might still come back to bite me in the arse.