The News organisation definition of “exclusive” when it comes to MH370 appears to be reporting news that is more than a year old.

The Sunday Mail yesterday reported an Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) admission that it might have missed the wreckage of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet during its sea floor search of the south Indian Ocean because of difficult terrain and the need for higher resolution sonar scans.

The ATSB announced this on January 14 last year. The issues were also raised in reports in defence intelligence dispatches and in Plane Talking in August and November last year and last week, when further official announcements were made by Deputy PM Warren Truss about the deployment of a ship from China equipped with the very-deep-level-capable, synthetic-aperture imaging sonar.

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Perhaps for News nothing is exclusive until its gets around to reporting old news and puts it behind a paywall for those it takes for suckers.

The Sunday Mail story is also illustrated with a map captioned “Suspected plane wreckage found off the coast of southern Thailand may be from MH370”.

That discovery was promptly found to be unrelated to MH370 and identified as coming from a Japanese satellite launch rocket by major News title The Wall Street Journal and later by other news services.

Yesterday’s year-old rehashing of news that News possibly hopes you may have forgotten about comes hot on the heels of its embarrassing persistence with the conspiracy theories of ex-pilot Byron Bailey in relation to the disappearance of MH370 on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014.

Bailey’s stories verbal the ATSB-led search and attack the body for doing or saying things it hasn’t done or said, and repeated as fact false stories spread about the flight climbing to 45,000 feet to asphyxiate its passengers while also misquoting a US expert on the significance of the wing part found on La Reunion Island last July.

Which is not to say Bailey’s suspicions about other aspects of the flight may be incorrect. The ATSB was moved to publish a detailed rebuttal of the Bailey nonsense, which, contrary to Press Council standards, News has ignored.

If you want an antidote to the rubbish News has published on MH370 in recent weeks, that rebuttal can be read in full here.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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