It’s getting late in the County of Cornwall, so I’ll be brief to begin with. Much more from me in due course, but for now I’ll merely mention that yesterday I was interviewed by BBC reporter Kirk England on top of the Colliford Reservoir dam. You can read all about that in another Davidstow.info article, catchily entitled “Where has the water in Colliford Lake gone?“. That one is also a work in progress, so I have a fair bit of catching up to do.
Not only that, but also on the previous Monday I was interviewed by ITV reporter Grace Pascoe about a rather different environmental issue. You can read all about that in an article catchily entitled “How long does it take for Truth to pull her boots on?”. That one is also a work in progress, so I have a lot of catching up to do!
In case you’re wondering, the common thread here is the way information is distorted as it moves in fits and starts across the world wide interweb. Chinese whispers if you prefer, but I prefer the term “truth decay”. In todays initially brief example, Kirk’s article on the BBC web site about the abnormally low water level in Colliford Lake included this extract of our recent conversation:
Environmental campaigner Jim Hunt from Davidstow, near Camelford, has been monitoring reservoir levels – including at Colliford – for the last few years and said the level was “astonishingly low”.
“It rained hard over winter, with a very dry February and now Cornwall’s biggest reservoir is half-full,” he said.
“Where’s the water gone?”
I’m sure that you can imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon a remarkably similar article stating instead that:
The reservoir level at Colliford is “astonishingly low” according to environmental activist Jim Hunt of Davidstow, near Camelford, who has been keeping tabs on reservoir levels for the past few years.
Cornwall’s largest reservoir is only about halfway full, he said, because of the heavy rainfall experienced throughout the winter and the unusually dry conditions in February. “Where’s the water gone?”
The article led with this artistic mashup of my very own visage with an aerial view of Colliford Lake and the suggestion that “Desalination ‘could provide third of county’s water'”:
I suddenly find myself strangely schizophrenic. Is “Jim Hunt” an “activist” or a “campaigner” or both? And does “Kirk England” have an alter ego called “Kelly James”?[Edit – March 8th]
I’ll have to stop Googling at bed time. It’s bad for my health. Tonight I discovered an allegedly “exclusive” report about South West Water’s plans to construct two desalination plants on the south coast of Cornwall. Google linked me to an article on inews, a mainstream media organisation which claims to be “For Open Minds“. Allegedly:
inews.co.uk is the UK’s most trusted news brand, according to data from industry auditor PAMCo. We’re proudly independent and have no agenda when it comes to political disputes – but we won’t hesitate to call out injustice or wrongdoing when we see it, no matter who’s doing it.
Our coverage of the news doesn’t stop at the headline, but digs deep with people-focused stories that reveal the truth of life in the UK, explainers that make politics plain, and vibrant coverage of social and cultural talking points.
The article was written by the ipaper’s Chief News Correspondent, David Parsley, and is entitled “Cornwall faces water rationing this summer as supplier admits new treatment plants will not be ready“. Allegedly:
More than a third of Cornwall’s drinking water could come from desalination if plans for two plants go ahead, South West Water said.
The two plants planned for Cornwall’s south coast will provide around 60 million litres a day. Cornwall uses 170 million litres of water in a 24-hour period, meaning more than a third of its water could come from the desalination plants.
South West Water is yet to disclose the two locations for the plants, but admitted they would not be ready by the time tourist numbers begin to rise significantly over Easter or by the time hundreds of thousands flock to the country each month during the summer holidays.
A spokesman for South West Water said: “We are working towards having plants operational by the end of summer 2023 and are working closely with the Environment Agency and Cornwall Council to achieve this challenging target.
The thing is David, I’d already established that fact long before you “tweeted” your “exclusive”. At 9:46 AM on March 7th to be precise:
As you can see, I’d also managed to dig out an “exclusive” of my very own. As I drift off to sleep with the rain pattering on the window I cannot help but wonder:
[Edit – March 9th]
How do mainstream media “Chief News Correspondents” go about doing their due diligence in this day and age?
After a fitful night’s sleep I woke early by my standards. I decide to experiment with Bing’s shiny new “AI powered” search engine. I eagerly typed in “Jim Hunt Davidstow” (without the quotes) and pressed “enter”.
Top of the image search was this excellent portrait of me:
Page 1 of Bing’s search results looked like this above the fold:
Watch this space!