fleet street and half-truths

I woke up this morning, still with swine flu, to a bit of a shock. Fellow polar traveller Ben Saunders pointed my attention to a news article in the Daily Mail. On further investigation the same story appeared to be in a variety of outlets, including the Telegraph Online.

It seems that an overimaginative press release author had claimed that Adrian Hayes' Emirates Greenland Quest had 'smashed' the polar unsupported distance record set by myself and George Bullard last year. All this, despite the small problem that the trio were kite-supported throughout, covering 2200miles in 67 days. This compared to our 1374miles in 113 days, reminds me of a race between a swimmer and a racing yacht. Not entirely matched.

Since the number of articles read similarly the source of the release, Bell Pottinger PR, must have been in error, confirmed by a phone call to Hayes' rep there.

I wonder how hard it is to check facts and release accurate stories. With the excellent PR outlets I've used in the past, we have gone over each sentence with a fine toothcomb to ensure quality.