lieIt was the ‘US law firm sues Turkey for $400bn’ that got me thinking. This story appeared in south Cyprus’s Financial Mirror where it was claimed the law firm was called Class Action, a term used for a single case being used to establish the worthiness of a number of cases.  The US magazine The Weekly Standard, an apparently reliable source, published a press release from Tsimpedes Law Firm supposedly confirming this law suit. However, a quick search of this law firm’s website  failed to find any evidence of the landmark lawsuit.

This leaves us with a feeling that the story had been placed there for its publicity value. Its language was very unlike that released by a law firm and seemed to be there to discredit Turkey at a time when it was making some progress with its relationship with its neighbours.

Spreading deliberately false news is probably as old the human race, you can picture a caveman walking out of the woods with a deer on his shoulder responding to the question, “where did you get that” by pointing in the wrong direction and saying, “over there.”

One group tried an experiment and then made a documentary called Starsuckers about the results. They made up false stories about stars and then fed them to major newspapers in the UK. For example they made up a fictional account about Sarah Harding, of the pop group Girls Aloud, published in Bizzare, on 2 April.

This story was supposed to have come from “Karys”, the wife of a removal man who had helped the singer move home. She told of the singer owning books on quantum physics and also a telescope. The Sun’s headline was “Sarah’s a real boffin.” Within hours, news had spread across the internet, from the online site of Cosmopolitan magazine to Ankara, where the news was reported in Turkish Weekly.

So, the well known saying that you shouldn’t believe what you read in newspapers takes on new meaning far beyond the fact that the stories might not be completely accurate. There is a possibility that some stories are there to bolster prejudices. When it comes to the Cyprus Problem the potential for this is immense.

Turkey sued for $400bn –

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