Islamic propaganda site masquerading as fact-checker, Alt News, which often fact-checks memes, jokes and claims not seen by anyone else, again fell for a joke and included it in a fact-check article. On this instant, they could not spot the joke posted by an aviation writer and analyst, and ruled that a tweet posted by him was fake.
After the clash between Indian and Chinese forces at the Galwan valley along the LAC in Ladakh, one video had emerged on social media claiming that it showed Apache helicopters of the Indian Air Force flying low over the Pangong Tso lake in Ladakh, another site of conflict between the two countries. Major General Brajesh Kumar, retired Air Marshal Anil Chopra and some media houses also shared the video claiming that the IAF choppers were patrolling over the lake. After that, it was already pointed by many on Twitter that it was an old video from the USA.
On 30th June, Alt News decided to fact-check the claim, and concluded that the video showed Apache helicopter of US military flying over flying over Lake Havasu in Arizona, and not the recently inducted Apache attack helicopters of Indian Air Force.
While they correctly fact-checked the false claim, towards the end of the article, they decided to include other people who had made the same claim, and in this, they failed to spot a joke. They included a tweet by aviation writer Mihir Shah, where he had mocked the false claims made by several people about the video of the Apache helicopters. He had tweeted, “The Indian Navy’s Sea King helicopters with mast-mounted sonars conducting anti-submarine operations at Pangong Tso.” It was an obvious joke, as there are no submarines in the Pangong Tso lake, and therefore there is no question of Indian Navy conducting anti-submarine operations at the lake situated at the Himalayas. Submarines, as the name suggests, operate in seas and oceans, and may enter lakes connected with seas, but they can’t operate in land-locked lakes, that too in a lake like Pangong Tso which is located at a very high altitude in the world’s tallest mountain range.
The Indian Navy’s Sea King helicopters with mast-mounted sonars conducting anti-submarine operations at Pangong Tso. pic.twitter.com/bpVcuoeoCG— Mihir Shah (@elmihiro) June 23, 2020
Moreover, Sea King helicopters are completely different in appearance from Apache helicopters seen in the video, and Shah had called them Sea King helicopters to highlight the fake news being circulated about the video. But ironically Alt News mistook his tweet for a genuine tweet, and included it in their fact-check on the video.
After the fact-check published by Alt News was spotted by Mihir Shah, this is how he reacted.