‘Season finale twist’: Twitter in shock after ‘assassinated' journalist Babchenko emerges alive
It was reported Tuesday evening that the journalist, described as a prominent Kremlin critic, was killed in Ukraine. However, in an unbelievable twist the ‘slain’ journalist revealed his death was, in fact, staged and part of a supposed sting operation by Ukrainian law enforcement to prevent an alleged planned attempt on his life.
The revelation has been met with shock across social media, with some users describing it as the ultimate “late season finale twist” or straight out of James Bond. Others wondered how on Earth the bizarre stunt seemed like a good idea to those involved.
So SBU (Ukraine’s former KGB) holds press conference saying they staged Banchenko’s murder to catch the person who had ordered a hit on him. Why do this if they already had the evidence?They’re out of their minds. https://t.co/gyoAgc4oJkSo much for all those obituaries.— Yasha Levine (@yashalevine) May 30, 2018
This is something out of a 007 film. https://t.co/7ypmHRvagw— Crispin Burke (@CrispinBurke) May 30, 2018
Absolutely next level double fox. https://t.co/0CvemCNx9e— Mark Di Stefano 🤙🏻 (@MarkDiStef) May 30, 2018
Bet you didn't see this late-season finale twist in year 4 of the Russia-Ukraine war. Apparently the whole thing was staged so that they could catch the people who ordered the hit. And it is normal because "Sherlock Holmes" did ithttps://t.co/2Z8pWX2A9n— max seddon (@maxseddon) May 30, 2018
I feel like we all just lived the world's biggest ever season-finale plot twist at the same time.— Jack Stubbs (@jc_stubbs) May 30, 2018
Many social media commenters were especially tickled by a Ukrainian lawmaker claiming the entire plot was inspired by Sherlock Holmes.
I doubt they would catch a beer in brewery— Bojan Pancevski (@bopanc) May 30, 2018
I can't decide if this is the most brilliant or spectacularly moronic thing I've ever heard. I think it's both. Up there with the guy in Guatemala who set up his own murder to make it look like someone else had done it— max seddon (@maxseddon) May 30, 2018
How did Babchenko go along with this stunt? In what universe would he think this was a good idea?— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) May 30, 2018
If Ukraine Security Service can stage deaths, imagine what the Central Bank of Ukraine could have staged. https://t.co/bQbBMtf2k3— Russian Market (@russian_market) May 30, 2018
BREAKING: Putin staged the staging of Babchenko’s murder in order to undermine truth and promote fake news. https://t.co/zkFppYEcWn— Yasha Levine (@yashalevine) May 30, 2018
As the news sunk in the Twitterati reacted with a chorus of memes.
Edited highlights of the Babchenko press conference pic.twitter.com/RpcprrhM1n— Alan White (@aljwhite) May 30, 2018
Babchenko rolled up into that press conference like pic.twitter.com/Fittlqq7tt— Emerson Collins (@ActuallyEmerson) May 30, 2018
Arkady Babchenko showin up to the news conference like pic.twitter.com/gBjVbgsZdX— Stephanie McNeal (@stephemcneal) May 30, 2018
Meanwhile the operation has been slammed by media watchdog Reporters Without Borders as a “pathetic stunt.”
Head of the organisation Christophe Deloire told AFP that while he was relieved that Arkady Babchenko was still alive, "it is pathetic and regrettable that the Ukrainian police have played with the truth, whatever their motive... for the stunt".
Journalists have also criticised the move as “irresponsible” and said the actions OF Babchenko and Ukrainian authorities has undermined the credibility of journalism.
Relieved that Arkadiy #Babchenko is alive! I deplore the decision to spread false information on the life of a journalist. It is the duty of the state to provide correct information to the public.— OSCE media freedom (@OSCE_RFoM) May 30, 2018
So now every time a journalist is murdered, those responsible will unleash their bots and propagandists to say it’s fake news. Thanks, Ukrainian security services. That’s really helpful to all who care about journalists’ safety. #Babchenko— Lindsey Hilsum (@lindseyhilsum) May 30, 2018
Whatever was gained by this stunt, I fear far more was lost. Triumph of hall-of-mirrors, fake-newsification of everything, which by definition can only harm trust in media, police, everybody. https://t.co/8JxXuSJmeD— Joshua Yaffa (@yaffaesque) May 30, 2018
Journalists are journalists. Spooks are spooks. This Babchenko stunt blurs those lines dangerously— Jack Losh (@jacklosh) May 30, 2018
Sorry, guys, to me, it's crossing a line big time. Babchenko is a journalist not a policeman, for Christ sake, and part of our job is trust, whatever Trump&Putin say about fake news. I'm glad he is alive, but he undermined even further the credibility of journalists and the media— Andrei Soldatov (@AndreiSoldatov) May 30, 2018
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