In what looks like a case of the debunkers getting debunked, Mail Online is sticking by its investigation into the murky past of United Airlines passenger Dr David Dao.
Dao became an internet sensation this week when footage emerged of him being dragged of a United Airlines flight that was over booked in the US.
Blogger Tim Fenton, an outspoken critic of tabloid journalism, claimed the Mail Online story was wrong on his Zelo Street blog.
He said: “The Mail is embarrassingly involved in another of those ‘they’ve got similar names and look alike’ howlers.
“The article’s headline has been screen-shotted in anticipation of the inevitable moment when it mysteriously vanishes from view…
“Another of those stories that look too good to be true – because they are too good to be true. Say sorry, Dacre doggies.”
Zelo Street’s belief the story was a case of mistaken identity appears to be based on a US freelance blogger, who has since backtracked and deleted tweets about the matter, and on a post from a US Twitter user called Mark Tran.
The Independent also cast doubt on the Mail Online story in a piece headlined: “Is the United Airlines man being smeared in the media even the right David Dao? It shouldn’t matter“.
It said: “There is presently confusion about whether the man on the United flight was actually David Thanh Duc Dao, quite possibly another person entirely to David Anh Duy Dao, the man with the criminal records.”
The Mail Online story remains online and Press Gazette understands it stands by its reporting.