The recent story about an elderly man who allegedly had to fix bicycles to pay for his kidney dialysis went viral when his grandson stepped forward to explain the reality of the situation.
Gabriel, the grandson, thanked the public for their overwhelming concern and kindness towards his grandfather.
He clarified that his grandfather is undergoing dialysis as a private patient and his bills are covered by insurance plans and family members. His grandfather is also well taken care of by the family and a domestic helper. Thus, there is no immediate need for any financial assistance or fundraisers from the public.
While the family appreciates the public’s good intentions by contributing red packets to his grandfather, Gabriel also urged the public to respect the grandfather’s desire to be self-sufficient. He said that his grandfather does bike servicing out of passion to earn his own money.
The last part may sound odd, but as concerned family members, it is understandable that they don’t want the public to intentionally support the grandfather. Gabriel mentioned that his health is of utmost importance to the family. Due to the nature of his grandfather, the man would want to do a good job for anyone that comes to get their bike fixed and the long hours will eventually take a toll on his health.
Twitterati had a field day slamming publications for clickbaity articles.
There’s always more to the story posted by clickbaity publications. So please be aware. pic.twitter.com/C4PjGmCo4y
— mrbrown (@mrbrown) November 19, 2021
At times mothership publicity does more harm than good. Okbye. https://t.co/MkFrHG2Tbb
— Nad (@azndhrh) November 19, 2021
Mothershit is absolutely bad on this sort of journalism, but not on the same atrocious levels as TOC about ahma getting abused by SPF, or LimJL and Byesara the socmed bullies with their sickening omni-anti-PAP or omni-misandry. https://t.co/Up9MYmdE38
— Vivimm (@Vivi88m) November 19, 2021
Some questioned the integrity of journalism today.
You know where he is, you know how to reach him. So why not just go down and speak with him yourself to get the full story?
Cause that will involve actual journalism, right? https://t.co/wU4xPtzMHM
— Noah Tan (@noahtanyw) November 19, 2021
Wait, you mean it’s not enough to just write a story off social media posts without actual verification? https://t.co/9Xfqi2UVRk
— Nicholas Yong (@incoherentboy) November 19, 2021
Some were just glad that the truth was out.
Glad the truth is out! https://t.co/8fg8I3AkV2
— Terence Tan (@tehsipeng) November 19, 2021
The story was first covered by Mothership.sg based on a Facebook post made by SG PCN Cyclist page. However, at the time of writing, the original post has been removed.
Much like the old cleaner story, where she allegedly earned $20 per day back in 2020, there was more to it than meets the eye. It was blown out of proportion to the extent where MSF had to step in to clarify the matter.
While it is good to highlight the struggles of some people in society by giving them the right attention, it could also be detrimental to them if we don’t have the full story. As reporters, it is better to exercise some caution by doing proper research lest an article backfires.
Reporter’s Opinions: Poverty porn gets all the love because people love such stories and want to be a part of something greater than them. Look at content that highlights struggles, rag-to-riches and the likes. These are the content that get the most clicks because we as a society have somehow turned into voyeurs in this social media age.
While “feel good “stories are all the rage because they get traction from the public, reporters must be aware and try to fact check as much as possible.
We don’t want to give the same public who enjoys such stories reason to scrutinise and dissect journalistic integrity.
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