Maybe they’re not too sure themselves

Yesterday (6 Oct), the mainstream media (MSM) has made public the outbreak of the hepatitis C virus in the Singapore General Hospital (SGH).

In an article published yesterday (6 Oct), The Straits Times said that there are 22 cases of infected patients and 4 deaths.

In a separate article that ran today, The Straits Times seems to be downplaying the situation, and said that the hepatitis C virus “infected at least 21 kidney patients at Singapore General Hospital”.

This morning, former Associate Editor of The Straits Times (ST) Bertha Henson called out her former employers, saying that she “seriously dislike(s) the ST page 1 story”.

Just what are the differences in reports? MustShareNews takes a look.

MSM’s reporting

We scrutinise ST’s articles from yesterday and today for discrepancies in the reporting of the incident.

Case #1

Source/ Source

Yesterday: 22 patients were reportedly infected with the virus.

Today: “At least 21 kidney patients” have been infected.

Why the ambiguity? Was the 1 remaining infected patient not a kidney patient?

What even is a kidney patient?


Case #2

Source/ Source

Yesterday: Informative stub telling readers what hep C is. Information found at bottom of article.

Today: One liner found at the start of the article, describing the hep C virus as “a virus that does not spread easily” and “dies quickly”. This information seemingly makes light of the situation and suggests that the hep C virus is nothing major. Although the virus does indeed die quickly when exposed to air, the severity of the virus when patients are infected was not brought up in the later article.

What hep C actually is: According to World Health Organization (WHO), the hep C virus can cause “both acute and chronic hepatitis infection” that ranges in severity from “a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness”.

Those who are “chronically infected” will also “develop liver cirrhosis or liver cancer”.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 4.30.25 pmSource

Case #3

Just as Bertha Henson has pointed out…

Yesterday: Health Minister Gan Kim Yong was quoted as “gravely concerned” and “disappointed with the occurrence of the cluster of hepatitis C cases in SGH”.

Today: Gan Kim Yong was quoted as “deeply concerned” by the infection at SGH, and the part where he said he was disappointed was not mentioned.

Source/ Source

So what is it?

Clearly, someone forgot to…


And KJ’s probably thinking:

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 5.06.55 pmSource

So here’s the moral of the story, Singapore: carefully examine how different news outlets present facts, and decide for yourself.

Yes, that includes our site, of course. 😉

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