The Bluffington Post and The Daily Fail Are At It Again: Why Sometimes You Can’t Trust Major Media Outlets

 | Tue 9 Jul 2013 15:57 ICT

What a surprise, more bullshit on the Internet. What disappoints me about this specific (and quite ubiquitously spread) mound of bullshit, is that it’s direct from the press.

Ta-da!                 (photo courtesy of H-ler’s Facebook page:

We all knew, or at least I thought we did, that media outlets such as The Daily Mail and The Huffington Post often spew a lot of…well, I’ve already used the word twice in the first sentence. But regarding both their stories about a restaurant called “Hitler,” which “recently opened in Bangkok,” even a no-name writer like I am perturbed by not just how fast untrue news travels, but how fast “credible journalists” are perpetuating said untruths.

There are many rules when it comes to journalism; some I abide by, and some I don’t. But, to me at least, two remain cardinal:

1) Tell the truth.

2) If you are not sure if what you have written is true, SCRAP IT!

An editor once told me, “I would rather print nothing than print a story you are not 100% sure of.” Now maybe the editors of The Daily Mail and The Huffington Post are threatening to shoot their writers in the kneecaps if they don’t produce ten stories a day (and if that’s the case, I’m very sorry to hear so), but most likely they’re not, thus I must ask: What’s your excuse?

Even in my first year of journalism classes, I was taught to present the facts (and, as I was reminded of many times, facts are different from lies, they are different from assumptions and they are most certainly different from unoriginal news that’s been hastily copied and pasted from another source) in a well-researched and articulate manner. How much trust do you put in the mainstream media when they write as if the words nonfiction and fable have become synonymous?

I’ve digressed – where were we? Right, back in the 1930s. Hitler. So far, the most “truth” I’ve found regarding this embarrassingly widespread Hitler restaurant fiasco is from Matt, the author of a blog called The Lost Boy. Whether or not Matt’s story is 100% accurate, he has still done a hell of a lot more research than “The Bluffington Post” or the “The Daily Fail.” Whatever happened to fact-checking? The so-called Nazi restaurant, as The Lost Boy astutely noted, is not even in Bangkok – it’s in Ubon Ratchathani, which is approximately 373 miles northeast of Thailand’s capital.

What makes things worse is even with my very meager stock of resources, I was able to uncover some facts backing the illegitimacy of this story in roughly 2 minutes (bear in mind, I’m slower at typing than most). I cyber-scooted to the scene of the crime, the infamous tweet by Andrew Spooner that went viral after he “spotted” a Hitler restaurant “in Bangkok” (side note: that same editor I previously mentioned also told me to use quotation marks carefully, and only around phrases if my tone was meant to be sarcastic).

The Huffington Post’s story said (please pay special attention to the sections I have italicized): “Hitler, which recently opened in Bangkok, Thailand, first garnered attention after Andrew Spooner, author of the ‘Footprint Thailand Handbook,’ snapped a photo of the restaurant and tweeted it out in May.”

If the “journalists” from The Huffington Post had taken even a second (I’ll give you thirty seconds if you’ve got bad eyes) to read further down the controversial tweet, they would have seen one of Spooner’s followers tweets back: “Where can I find that store?” To which Spooner replied (drumroll please!): “No idea, didn’t take the photo, just tweeted it.” The photo Spooner had tweeted was taken well over a year ago, in March of 2012. And while now I admit to speculating, 2012 was merely when the photo was posted – who knows when the actual photo was taken.

So let’s try and solve the mystery of the Hitler restaurant which, apparently, has become (as mentioned on Thaivisa) “a national embarrassment.” It did, at some point or another, exist. But it certainly did not just open. I will present to you its successor, a re-vamped fast-food joint called “H-ler.” H-ler’s logo is red, with a black silhouette of a man’s head, and within the silhouette, a large, white question mark. 

Whether or not KFC is actually suing over this ridiculously outdated and horribly researched “news story” (which I doubt considering The Huffington Post quoted a “Yum! spokesman over email” – even though Yum! is the “parent of KFC,” an actual KFC representative was not directly spoken to), hopefully news outlets such as the two I’ve harped on throughout this article will remember what journalism is all about, and if you can’t do that, at the very least start fact-checking your stories before you sensationalize them.

I will end on this note:

Bravo, The Lost Boy, for taking a shred of time to critically examine and question the truth behind these inane allegations. You remind me of why citizen journalism is important – to keep the rest of us in check.

And to the two organizations I will never work for: I know you gotta’ get bad news out in a hurry, so perhaps you would be best to stick with what you know…I also heard the rumour that Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber have reconciled – how exciting!

For anyone looking to dine at H-ler restaurant (I hear the chicken is quite good), they are open Monday through Sunday from 10:00-21:00 and here’s three phone numbers you can contact them with (or to verify my story with): 0868691825 , 0881272175 , 0816003377