Media Loses Credibility By Calling Uncontacted Tribe Story "A Hoax"

A colorful plant in the Amazon RainforestEarlier this week, several media outlets chose to dip their hands into the sensationalist journalism cookie jar a second time, and for all of the wrong reasons. About a month ago, an exciting story broke about how photographs of an uncontacted tribe living near the Brazil-Peru border had been taken for the first time. Now some media outlets, following the lead of the British newspaper The Observer, are calling the story a hoax.

Unfortunately for these media outlets, they have only shamed themselves by doing lousy reporting. Here’s what Mike Krumboltz from Yahoo news said:

“Even in an age when cynical sleuths can hyper-analyze stories for truth and accuracy, the occasional hoax still slips through the cracks. Such was the case with a so-called ‘lost Amazon tribe.’

A few months ago, mainstream news outlets (including, ahem, Yahoo!) reported that a photographer had found a lost tribe of warriors near the Brazilian-Peruvian border. Photos of the tribe backed up his claim.

As it turns out, the story is only half true. The men in the photo are members of a tribe, but it certainly ain’t “lost.” In fact, as the photographer, José Carlos Meirelles, recently explained, authorities have known about this particular tribe since 1910. The photographer and the agency that released the pictures wanted to make it seem like they were members of a lost tribe in order to call attention to the dangers the logging industry may have on the group.

The photographer recently came clean, and news outlets, perhaps embarrassed at having been taken for a ride, have been slow to pick up the story. Now, the word is starting to spread and articles in the Buzz are picking up steam. Expect a lot more brutal truth in the coming days.”

I hope you are ready for the brutal truth Mr. Krumboltz, because you certainly ain’t a good reporter. If Mr. Krumboltz had actually taken time to read some of the original articles published about the uncontacted tribes, then he would have understood that no one ever claimed that the tribes were ever “lost,” just uncontacted. The reason for taking photographs of the tribe was to document their existence for those people who did not believe they existed, such as Peru’s President Alan Garcia, and also to promote the danger these tribes face because of illegal logging in Peru.

Survival International, the organization that first published the pictures and who advocates for tribal protection, issued a press release several days ago effectively squashing the hoax claims. 

Read More about the Uncontacted Tribes:

Photo Credit: LollyKnit on Flickr under a Creative Commons license

3 thoughts on “Media Loses Credibility By Calling Uncontacted Tribe Story "A Hoax"”

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