According to reports in the Daily Mail, Mirror, The Sun and the Daily Telegraph one of the ink bombs was defused just ’17 minutes before it was due to go off’. The information was disseminated by the French interior Brice Hortefeux via French TV. The Mail, Mirror and Sun all fail to make any mention of how credible this information is. The Daily Telegraph does point out that the Metropolitan Police are unable to confirm this detail, having only announced that they had found a ‘viable explosive device’.
Interestingly, both Forbes and the Washington Post have run an Associated Press follow up that reports:
The White House says it has no information that would confirm a French government report that one of two bombs mailed to the United States last week was defused just minutes before exploding…
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday the question of when the bombs were to go off is still under investigation and there’s no information confirming such a close call.
U.S. investigators have also said they were unable to confirm the French report.
A quick Google search for ‘ink bomb’ brings up reports from the Sun and Daily Mail that the bomb was just 17 minutes away from exploding. This information has perhaps already become accepted in the minds of many, whether it is confirmed or not. The tabloid press don’t care whether it is true or not. They do not seem to be updating their articles to include the lack of confirmation that the White House was able to provide nor whether any other source has confirmed it.
It is just another terror story that goes global before any real information is known. It might be true, it might not be; but the whole point of good journalism is to hold back from printing such claims as absolute truth until the relevant sources have been checked and the truth established. Still, good journalism is bad business and vice-versa.