Below is an email that just popped into our inbox, from Paul Hughes, head of international media relations for Qatar's Supreme Committee of Delivery & Legacy (!). That makes him the main flack for the outfit that's overseeing the 2022 World Cup, which one international group expects to kill more people than the Troubles.
First allow me to introduce myself. My name is Paul Hughes and I am Head of International Media Relations for the Supreme Committee of Delivery & Legacy - the organization overseeing the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
As Editor-in-Chief of Deadpsin, I assume you have built up a respectable pedigree in your field and have the highest standards. If that is indeed the case, sadly the article by your writer Tom Ley falls way short of those standards.
Firstly the headline; Qatar's World Cup Expected To Take More Lives Than 9/11.
Is it because an Arab country is hosting the World Cup you thought this was a clever and shocking headline? For the sake of coming across as a decent open-minded person, I certainly hope not. However, I can't really think of any other reason to bring such a damaging image into people's minds. Perhaps you can enlighten me...
And that's before we actually address the factual inaccuracies in the headline, let alone the report.
It is one thing for the ITUC to claim 4000 people will die building World Cup stadiums without any justification. It is another thing completely for media outlets with giant followings such as Deadspin just to take their word for it. Have you actually ever sat down and questioned that claim, or are you just accepting it as fact instead of the sound-bite it is?
'The ITUC concludes that the principal cause of all of these deaths is the horrible working conditions that migrant workers suffer through every day,'
Tommy, have you looked into the facts of this issue? Have you even asked your reporter to get some context or find out the cause of deaths in Qatar? Has it never crossed your mind it may be because of something other than construction incidents? If you have then I'm amazed a paragraph like this was allowed to appear on your website.
There are 500,000 Indians living in Qatar. Since 2011 around 450-500 Indians have died due to any number of reasons. Without diminishing the value of human life, I would urge you to at least consider those numbers for some sort of context to the mortality rate of that particular demographic.
Here's another fact. In almost 50,000 man hours, the Supreme Committee has not had one single injury or fatality on World Cup projects. [Ed. note: Huh?] That, unlike the ITUC's "estimation" is a fact. Another fact is that before the ITUC released this report, we had to contact them and point out several inaccuracies in their report which related to our Worker Welfare Standards and the accusations leveled at the Supreme Committee. These inaccuracies were duly noted in private even if not in public.
There are problems to be addressed in Qatar, problems the government are trying to fix right now. Following a two day investigation, an independent delegation from the European Parliament held a press conference in Doha tonight, acknowledging the government for their work in taking steps to progress the situation.
No-one is denying that things are not perfect. What we are being denied is the chance to put both sides of the story across. I would urge you to maintain the standards that got you to the position you now hold. I think your 600,000 followers deserve it.
In the meantime, I suggest you re-visit the headline. It is currently being reviewed by our legal team - not least because of the direct comparison to the worst atrocity on US soil. And in the future, please give careful consideration to future reports on Qatar.
For this to be anything but simpering horseshit from a hired gun, you'd have to accept that the massive migrant-worker fatality numbers reported by the Indian and Nepalese governments—conservative, according to the Guardian's reporting—are entirely false, or that not a single one of those dead workers was involved in any of the $100 billion worth of World Cup-related construction in Qatar. (You'd also have to believe that worker deaths are being classified accurately and not in a way convenient to the interests of Qatar's Supreme Committee of Delivery & Legacy.)
Also, "Without diminishing the value of human life ..." is the new "I'm not racist, but ..."