Alex Hern covers the ballsy attempt by the Irish Independent to smear a pair of Polish migrants by mistranslating an article that was freely available for all to check
An Irish newspaper has been caught out blatantly smearing a pair of Polish migrants to the country.
The Irish Independent published an article purporting to quote an interview the couple, Magda and Robert, gave to the Polish Gazeta paper, but a comparison with the original reveals that the quotes were, at best incompetently and at worst maliciously, butchered in translation.
The Independent reports that:
‘Magda’ (36), not her real name, described her life on the dole in Donegal as a ‘Hawaiian massage’…
Magda doesn’t identify the town in Co Donegal where she lives but she does call it a “s***hole”…
“Sometimes I sleep till noon and the nearest beach is five minutes away”…
[Robert] in turn bragged about the county’s wonderful golf courses.
In fact, as a commenter on the social news site Reddit picked up, the original report suggests a different story. Rather than describing her life as a Hawaiian massage, Magda is actually doing a course in massage therapy, developing a skill which she is exchanging for services [all quotes via Google translate]:
Now I have an appointment with a carpenter, that I will make a bookshelf, and I will massage his back, because the boy has problems with the spine.
Rather than simply calling the town she lives in a “s***hole”, she says:
Donegal, a county on the northern tip of Ireland, for some the most beautiful place in the world, but for others – the biggest shithole. Wherever you look carefully, green hills and beaches to the horizon, like a postcard.
On the other hand you can go to the beach for an hour and meet one old woman in [a macintosh].
Day start is always the same: go to the beach to see the sunrise. It charges me for the rest of the day. Once, I slept until noon, now pity that life.
And as for golf, it is mentioned twice in the piece. Once by the author, and once by Magda herself:
On weekends, the middle class come here to play golf, and it attracts tourists in summer.
Little wonder that the Polish ambassador to Ireland has written to the paper, saying:
The danger of an anti-immigrant atmosphere developing during harsh economic times is well-documented throughout history. I would hope that a major newspaper such as the Irish Independent would be conscious of this and take great care when fact-checking such a potentially inflammatory article.
• Net A8 migration down 88 per cent – Shamik Das, November 26th 2009
• Polish politician attempts to suppress film exposing country’s anti-Semitic issues – Lidia Wieczorek, November 4th 2009
• Conservative party paranoia on Poland – Will Straw, November 11th 2009
• Five questions for Poland’s Chief Rabbi – Will Straw, October 29th 2009
• Griffin’s historical ignorance of Poland’s war role – Will Straw, October 20th 2009
As you’re here, we have something to ask you. What we do here to deliver real news is more important than ever. But there’s a problem: we need readers like you to chip in to help us survive. We deliver progressive, independent media, that challenges the right’s hateful rhetoric. Together we can find the stories that get lost.
We’re not bankrolled by billionaire donors, but rely on readers chipping in whatever they can afford to protect our independence. What we do isn’t free, and we run on a shoestring. Can you help by chipping in as little as £1 a week to help us survive? Whatever you can donate, we’re so grateful - and we will ensure your money goes as far as possible to deliver hard-hitting news.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.