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Wildlife Winners and Losers - Brock Initiative

Discussing RT.com Op-ed Article: You’ve been lied to: Walrus suicide NOT caused by climate change as Attenborough story quietly revised. What else is a lie? by Helen Buyniski, RT and reactions to us sharing it.
Article published: 6 November – Shared 19 November 2019

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"Footage of walruses driven to suicide by climate change broke the world’s heart last year, only for the story to be quietly revised. But if media lied about walrus suicides, what else are they lying about?

Renowned nature documentarian David Attenborough probably converted a few climate skeptics with his heartrending footage of walruses, their habitat decimated by climate change, throwing themselves off cliffs in despair in the 2018 Netflix documentary Our Planet.

Unfortunately, the story was untrue. Walruses regularly take to the water as part of their seasonal migration, and some plummet to their doom in their hurry to escape predators like polar bears, which sometimes hunt their prey by triggering a stampede off a precipice."

Read more: rt.com/op-ed/472795-walrus-suicide-climate-change-lies

NB. Wildlife-film.com does not endorse this article nor its' theories. We've shared it because there are various unsubstantiated claims made online in the same vein and we wanted to open it up for discussion. We apologise if it has been seen otherwise.

After seeing various similar stories on the internet, we tweeted the above headline, indicating that it was an "RT Op-ed", thinking that it warranted a discussion perhaps. Some days later we got heavily criticised by some of the film-makers involved, suggesting that we were endorsing the article and giving credence to climate change deniers. We definitely were not and it was not our intention to offend the excellent film-makers involved with the production of Our Planet and Seven Worlds, One Planet ... Two series that we've heavily promoted, essentially for free!

Our tweet below, further replies found if you follow the various threads:

One film-maker gave some reasoned and helpful clarifications in response, although complained to us privately, whilst another just decided to publicly attack us for the tweet, accusing us of promoting climate change deniers etc. Hence this response.

As a news resource, we share member and the wider industry news as a service to our members, subscribers/followers etc. We rarely give an opinion, merely curating the news for those that care to look. The news is largely positive, very often gushingly so, and we don't say whether we agree with it or not, i.e. we try to remain impartial. We are definitely more likely to share only positive news about our members, so could be accused of bias is that regard, but we share negative stuff too, or articles that might criticise productions, if we think they are interesting or newsworthy or warrant clarification. We then hope that they will be discussed by members, viewers and give the film-makers a chance to defend themselves where appropriate.

We understand that film-makers work on blue-chip, landmark series for several years and so are, of course, heavily invested in these productions and we've no wish or reason to devalue these efforts ... We largely just want to say bravo!

However, we don't check the truth behind every wildlife film-related news story that we share, because we don't have the time or the resources, plus we are aware that most articles online will have at least some inaccuracies. We leave it up to the reader to make decisions on whether the author/publisher has got it right, or those involved to send us a correction. We are not intentionally sharing fake news but know that not all news is accurate, be it positive or negative, and that we should all make sure that we look at different news outlets to get a balanced view. We try to share a balanced view ourselves, i.e. praise and criticism, sharing articles that reflect opposing views on the same subject/production. What we share is overwhelmingly positive and supportive however. Film-makers are always welcome to contact us with their news or their rebuttal to any inaccurate/fake news involving them and we will happily publish it for them. That goes for the article in question here too.

We are sorry that this tweet upset some people but wonder if the criticism is entirely fair.

So, we'd really like to hear what you think about this. Shoud we ignore negative stories or are they all fair game? By sharing them are we complicit? Should we not have sent this tweet? Should an opinion be given on every news item shared? Which would mean that we'd have to indicate that we agree or disagree with the positive stuff too? Would you like more editorial content? Are we potentially spreading fake news? Were the film-makers correct to berate us or should they have rather put their energies into refuting the author of the article's claims? Would you rather see us curate all wildlife film-related news or just the postive stuff? Do you think that Wildlife-film.com is a trustworthy news resource? Worthy even? Email us with your thoughts please: news@wildlife-film.com Or leave your comments in the box below. Thank you.

PS. The replies recieved in response to this tweet genuinely upset me, the editor, as I spend an awful lot of my time working on this resource for very little financial reward and barely any thanks. I am constantly sharing positive wildlife/environmental/vegan film news articles, am clearly very much for film-making that is trying to make a difference in terms of climate change, environmental degradation and species extinctions etc whilst promoting the amazing work of the very talented individuals and organisations working in the wildlife film-making industry but I am not shy to share opposing views or something that is controversial now and then because sometimes it's necessary for balance. False balance and sensationalism never intended. Just ignoring prevalent wildlife film news, even if it is misinformed just because it's uncomfortable to address seems lacking somehow... I'd much rather have those that are misinfomed or publishing incorrect info/sensationalist/fake news put right. Or if wildlife film-makers are getting it wrong, have them called out. Anyway, this tweet was one amongst many social media postings last month, overwhelmingly positive ones they were too. A thank you instead of grumbles now and then wouldn't go amiss. Neither would some respect. Jason

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