Debunkers debunked? Mail Online stands by investigation into past of United Airlines passenger David Dao - Press Gazette

Debunkers debunked? Mail Online stands by investigation into past of United Airlines passenger David Dao

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.

Mail Online reports that he is a former professional poker player with a shady past whose medical licence had been suspended.

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.



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Author: Dominic Ponsford

Dominic Ponsford is the editor of Press Gazette


1 thought on “Debunkers debunked? Mail Online stands by investigation into past of United Airlines passenger David Dao”

  1. What does it matter if the wretched passenger was a poker player and had, shall we say, an alleged colourful past? It’s just not good PR for a uniformed thug (posing as POLICE -says so on his jacket) to lift a 69-year-old Vietnamese gentleman face, down and bodily launch him across the width of the aircraft ensuring the paying passengers face impacted on the metal seat armrest, on the other side of the centre aisle. True the passenger was not lawfully on board and technically trespassing once the captain (or commander) had indicated the seat needed to be vacated. But all this is usually done and bribes sorry incentives paid well before going through the gate and boarding the ‘plane. Still United was a million bucks down, as it share price collapsed ( then recovered a bit ). It would have been far cheaper to charter a gold plated luxury jet to get the relief 5 person crew to their destination. No doubt the CEO will be urgently updating his own CV, as his subsequent comments were not at all helpful……

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