Daily Mail sets new “standard” in Earhart reporting

Now that we’ve spent a few weeks at Garapan Prison in search of disembodied spirits, discarnate entities and other manifestations of the paranormal, it’s time we get back to the business of the disappearance and search for Amelia Earhart.

Some readers might be aware of the recent series of three stories, replete with huge photo layouts, published in the well-known United Kingdom tabloid, the Daily Mail presenting the Mili Atoll-Endriken Islands discoveries that Dick Spink, of Bow, Washington and his associates have made during several searches of the remote location over the past four years. 

I published the first of three pieces focusing on Spink’s finds here on Nov. 25, 2014, on the heels of the Oct. 31 Kansas City Star story, Has the key to Amelia Earhart’s disappearance in the Pacific been found in Kansas?”  For those who might have missed those postings, they’re linked here,Recent find on Mili Atoll called “Concrete proof”, here,  “Update to ‘Recent find on Mili’ story and here, New Mili search uncovers more potential evidence.

Now that you’re up to speed on my support for Spink’s work on this blog, I’ll continue with my comments about what would normally be a positive development, i.e., a major publication offering aspects of the Earhart truth to a massive audience — unheard of in U.S. media– but the way the Daily Mail has presented these stories is too disturbing for me take much satisfaction.

These artifacts were found on the Endriken Islands at Mili Atoll by Dick Spink and his search groups in recent years.  Spink says the long piece of metal on the left side is the most likely to have come from an Electra 10E.  Asked where these pieces could have come from if not the Earhart Electra, Spink said, “The only other explanation could be that they were pieces of aluminum that could have been possibly torn off of something like fishing gear or something else that floated up on the island. I guess I really don’t know where the pieces came from if they weren’t from her [Earhart’s] aircraft.” Testing of the artifacts is ongoing.  (Courtesy Dick Spink.)

These artifacts were found on the Endriken Islands at Mili Atoll by Dick Spink and his search groups in recent years. Spink says the long piece of metal on the left side is the most likely to have come from an Electra 10E. Asked where these pieces could have come from if not the Earhart Electra, Spink said, “The only other explanation could be that they were pieces of aluminum that could have been possibly torn off of something like fishing gear or something else that floated up on the island. I guess I really don’t know where the pieces came from if they weren’t from her [Earhart’s] aircraft.” Testing of the artifacts is ongoing. (Courtesy Dick Spink.)

If you haven’t seen the Daily Mail stories yet, here they are for your review, linked by date of publication in the Daily Mail, or MailOnline as they like to call themselves: May 29June 26 and July 9.

If you’ve read any or all of these very similar pieces, you may have noticed the glaring lack of references to any previous investigative work on the Earhart disappearance as related to Mili Atoll. To the low-information reader, it appears as if the Daily Mail discovered this story all by itself, and is presenting it to the world for the first time! 

For those not inclined to click on the linked above, here’s a flavor of what I’m referring to, from the June 26 Daily Mail article, headlined, “EXCLUSIVE: Are these bits of metal proof that Amelia Earhart died after being captured by the Japanese on remote Pacific atoll – and the U.S. government KNEW but covered it up?”

Compelling new evidence found among the jagged coral of a tiny North Pacific island could be the key to finally unraveling the mystery of exactly what happened to U.S. aviator Amelia Earhart after she disappeared almost 80 years ago.

The corroding pieces of metal, discovered on the Mili atoll in the Marshall Islands, are currently being analysed [sic] to find out if they are the wheel well trim and dust cover from Amelia’s Lockheed Electra plane, which disappeared over the Pacific in 1937, while she and her navigator Fred Noonan were attempting to fly around the globe.

The two men behind the find believe that they are in possession of another piece of tantalizing [sic] evidence that they claim proves she and her companion were captured by the Japanese and died while in their hands. 

The circular metal dust cover from a landing-gear wheel assembly found by DIck Spinks' friend Martin Daly on Mili Atoll recently. “It is a dust cover off one of these Goodyear wheels,” aircraft analyst Jim Hayton said. “Since I had the other two wheels, I’m very familiar with this dust cover. I know exactly what it is."

The circular metal dust cover from a landing-gear wheel assembly found by Dick Spinks’ friend Martin Daly on Mili Atoll recently. “It is a dust cover off one of these Goodyear wheels,” aircraft analyst Jim Hayton said. “Since I had the other two wheels, I’m very familiar with this dust cover. I know exactly what it is.”

Naturally I don’t appreciate this bunch ignoring Truth at Last, would you? But this isn’t a case of a personal problem between the Daily Mail and myself or Sunbury Press, the book’s publisher. The Daily Mail editors also failed to name Oliver Knaggs’ 1983 book, Amelia Earhart: Her final flight and Vincent V. Loomis’ Amelia Earhart: The Final Story (1985), works that presented the major Marshalls eyewitness, Bilimon Amaron and several others to the world for the first time.   

That’s just for starters. The MailOnline also refused to acknowledge the vital contributions of other researchers and authors who fought and bled to dig out the truth in this story, failing to mention — while at the same time pulling much information critical to their stories The Search for Amelia Earhart by Fred Goerner, the 1966 bestseller and the most important of all Earhart disappearance books, and Thomas Devine’s 1987 classic, Eyewitness: The Amelia Earhart Incident

Others have also made significant contributions to the Mili Atoll landing scenario, including the late Bill Prymak, who located and interviewed several new witnesses for the first time during his three trips to the Marshalls, many years before the recent finds. Their accounts are chronicled in Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last. Are you seeing a pattern yet?

The point is that if you read the Daily Mail stories, it’s as if no investigations have ever been done at Mili before Spink and his search groups showed up there a few years ago. Hyperbole is one thing, outright deceit by omission is quite another.  This is not to take anything away from Dick Spink’s potentially blockbuster discoveries, which in themselves are the best news in years for the truth in the Earhart case.

To ensure its clueless readers don’t get the impression that they came up with these stories out of thin air, however, the Daily Mail editors quoted two obscure witnesses, one an American who claims he was a good friend of Bilimon Amaron but otherwise has no ties to the story. The clear and quite dishonest implication is that these witnesses are sharing revelations about the Earhart disappearance that the world is hearing for the first time.

Amram’s friend Charles Domnick, 73, told MailOnline: ‘He told me he saw both of them on the Japanese vessel and spoke to Noonan. They were both sitting on the deck. He had no doubt about that.’

 Domnick said he went to Amram’s warehouse in the late 1960s, where his friend swore that he had accompanied a Japanese doctor to the Koshu Maru to look after an injured American.

. . . Jerry Kramer, a U.S. businessman who has lived on Majuro since the 1960s, told MailOnline he had been a good friend of Amram and could ‘absolutely confirm the story that he told about helping to treat the navigator and seeing Amelia Earhart.’

A satellite view of Mili Atoll from space, with Barre Island to the north, where Amelia Earhart landed on July 2, 1937.

A satellite view of Mili Atoll from space, with Barre Island to the north, where Amelia Earhart landed on July 2, 1937.

The Daily Mail’s motivation for employing such a shabby editorial policy is obvious: They don’t want readers going anywhere else for their Earhart information, and if they want to learn more they’ll just have to wait for the next Daily Mail story, unless, of course they decide to do some online research of their own, a highly unlikely but not unheard-of practice among today’s mostly incurious masses.  

Dick Spink assured me that he urged Karen Earnshaw, named as the writer of at least two of the  stories, that she include a reference to Truth at Last, so clearly it was the Daily Mail editors who butchered these stories for their own selfish, shortsighted reasons.  

Who do they think they’re serving by shortchanging their readership in such a tawdry way? How many readers in the UK actually care about the Earhart story anyway? Very few, I would guess, so what is their anglewhy is the Daily Mail suddenly so “keen,” as they say in England, on the Earhart story? And why can’t they tell it correctly, instead of twisting themselves into literary pretzels in their ridiculous attempt to claim “exclusive rights” to a story that was told over 50 years ago by real journalists?

I sent cordial emails to Karen Earnshaw and Richard Shears, named as a co-author in two of the stories, to ask if they could explain why the Daily Mail has taken such an interest in the Earhart case, when nobody else in the media has changed their total blackout policy regarding any stories that present the Marshalls and Saipan pieces of the Earhart saga.

Neither Earnshaw, who lives in the Marshall Islands, nor Shears replied to my query, which typifies the rudeness, arrogance and lack of professionalism all too often found today in people who call themselves journalists, and which especially flavors the media’s attitude toward the Earhart story, apparently even when it’s offering pieces of the truth. We constantly hear about how the media has no standards anymore, and this is just another example. 

The Daily Mail obviously fashions itself a credible publication, so it has a responsibility to be honest with its readers, to cite its sources and to provide accurate background information in its stories. None of these basic requirements can be found in the recent Daily Mail Earhart-at-Mili Atoll series.

If the Daily Mail were a student taking journalism 101 at the local community college, these stories would have been returned with a big, fat “F” in large red ink, with a few choice comments from a slightly miffed professor to the moron who wasn’t listening to a damn thing he said. 

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11 responses

  1. Gee whiz, Mike! Maybe it’s all those years of **real** schooling where they taught me to cite references, but even in emails and definitely in reports I draft, I **do** cite references, including websites. I agree, it is appalling that someone with a salaried job as a professional journalist would not know to do this. And I thought “investigative” journalists … er, … umm … “investigate”? These articles sound more like an email account of a conversation with someone.

    Isn’t it ironic that you work yourself practically into a tizzy trying to get media reps to notice and report on this story, more specifically “investigate” your and Goerner’s books and others, and here is at least **some** of that story published in a UK venue – but lacking exactly the kind of references and attention to detail that would lend it serious credence!

    I am stumped by the consistent refusal to reply to emails demonstrated by many who write for internet readers these days.

    Can’t win for having your research watered down to the point it is room-temp melted ice!

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    1. A very kind, euphemistic way of describing an epidemic of incompetence and rudeness in the media, Wolfy. You could head my diplomatic corps anytime, if I thought that would be an appropriate way to approach these characters. Not today, however. As it was, I still managed to restrain myself and keep my criticism on a professional level — far more than these media vermin normally do for me!
      Mike

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      1. Mike when the D.M. had the story on their Facebook page I posted that everyone should go and buy your book if you want the real truth about Amelia Earhart,hopefully some people will do just that.

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      2. Thanks Jesse. It’s nearly impossible to sell a book anymore, so every little bit helps. Your support is always appreciated and never taken for granted.
        Mike

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  2. SHAME on Karen Renshaw & Richard Shears for not at least replying back to Mike with a simple explanation or rebuttal. In light of this material and *RESPECT to these men, who have spent years researching & unearthing the FACTS; these two journalists take *credit which doesn’t belong to them..

    I have spent the last two years distributing [Amelia Earhart/The Truth at Last ] business cards for Mike; along with balsa wood, Lockheed Electra, airplanes to the general public. Yet nobody has bothered to enlighten others, spread the word nor ask if they could HELP in this cause? I have stopped at radio stations, colleges, universities, libraries and airports. These people know who I am, who Mike Campbell is and now have access to the *TRUTH and yet nobody seems to understand the Media’s BLACKOUT. What is even worse are friends who will catch a TIGHAR/ Ric Gillespie news flash and tell me they are looking for Amelia’s plane and might find it. I’m beginning to WONDER if these people ACTUALLY know how to READ??? THINK??? or EDUCATE themselves in the TRUTH???

    For God’s sake people, WAKE -UP out there! WAKE -UP!

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  3. I agree, Doug Mills. I read Goerner’s book, in ’66, & have known the truth, ever since. If Chester Nimitz was on board,why wouldn’t you pay attention? I believe that the world is full of moron’s! So, yes, people….WAKE UP!!!

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  4. Donna – thanks and *appreciate your comments as always. The general public doesn’t understand how U.S. Intelligence works or operates.As with Thomas Devine’s research, work & book – Eyewitness/The Amelia Earhart Incident. He tells us about an agency protecting Japanese collaborators, documents too blurred to read, missing, cannot locate contents. He states. “I wondered how *authorities could have made such sound decisions with so much of the report material missing or illegible?”

    Authorities refer Thom to these other guys, (as to get him off their backs) as to say and they themselves cannot be contacted or gotten in touch with?

    GEE doesn’t this sound as FISHY as Amelia Earhart cannot be found? located? lost at sea? gone missing???? TIGHAR still looking after 25 years????? U.S. Intelligence at it’s *BEST and continuing to FOOL & CoNFUsE everyone?

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  5. Richard Shears | Reply

    Well, here’s a simple reply, Mike. The Daily Mail story was not a university thesis in which all book sources have to be dutifully quoted, particularly when the articles that appeared under my name and that of Miss Earnshaw – and please get her name right; it’s not Renshaw – were very carefully researched.
    Miss Earnshaw has lived in the Marshall Islands for many years. She didn’t just pop in and have a chat with a few people and fly off again. She knows many people there and she has every right to interview them and record their comments without any need to start quoting books.
    You also fail to note that Miss Earnshaw physically flew to see Dick Spink and took numerous photographs of him. Her research was impeccable. And, by the way, I’ve interviewed Mr Gillespie in Fiji when he returned on one of his exploratory trips to Kiribati (in case you were wondering whether I’m a newcomer to the Earhart story).
    Good luck with your book. But please allow me to remind you that the Earhart story is not yours exclusively. You are free to do whatever research you like – just as anyone else is.

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    1. Well Richard, thanks for your reply. I’m suitably embarrassed that I got Karen’s last name wrong, but that’s about the only legitimate point you make. Everything else I said about the Daily Mail’s story remains accurate. Nobody claims they own this story, but some write about it with far more credibility and authority than others. Karen lives in the Marshalls and flew to interview Dick Spink, which is fine and so what? Does that give whoever edited this story the right to act as if it’s brand new? Not a chance, Richard. You also show your ankle by claiming that interviewing Gillespie gives you some insight into the truth in the Earhart disappearance. What you learn from Gillespie is only how to manipulate a perfectly willing and corrupt media to publish his latest propaganda. Otherwise you remain as clueless as the masses he loves to deceive.

      Thanks for your good wishes for my book, and for your permission to research the story as I like, “just as anyone else is.” I really do appreciate that, Richard. You are such a guy!

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  6. Richard – please give *CREDIT where it is DUE. Mike has always included *Fred Goerner, Thom Devine, Bill Prymak, and so many other Earhart researchers & authors in his articles. It’s YOU who hasn’t and needs to mention these GREAT MEN. Please show some respect & consideration and also to *Mike.

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  7. I agree – I thought “newspapermen” had a pretty hard shell! From his post above, Richard apparently expects others (e.g., Mike) to have one … Lighten up. Mike is right. The article in the Daily Mail was inadequate and appeared to have been based on at best secondary if not tertiary sources, and not primary sources. I have taught at college and graduate level for over 30 years, and I expect even undergraduate students to do a better job of indicating their sources when they make claims based on them. Too bad news articles do not regularly include references – it would be so easy then to see just how inadequate the research was.

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