Yellow journalism runs amok with another Drone Drama, getting it wrong, again:

The San Francisco Chronicle (a notorious hack-blatt with an accuracy record roughly that of the National Enquirer) has stolen re-posted a story and video clip from something called "Business Insider" (is that an allusion to illegal stock trading, or what?) under the headline

It Looks Like Raging Hockey Fans Destroyed An LAPD Drone Last Night

The video clearly shows a plain vanilla Phantom (or clone), stupidly piloted low over the crowd by someone who I will bet my Pixhawk is about as far from being an LAPD member as is Justin Beiber. As for the drone, LAPD has a pair of yet undeployed Draganflyer X6's, a gift from Seattle PD who were prevented by the Luddites of that notoriously tech-shy region from using them.

Here's the link to this POS: http://www.sfgate.com/technology/businessinsider/article/It-Looks-Like-Raging-Hockey-Fans-Destroyed-An-5553028.php

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  • The big problem is that the media doesn't really care about the facts.

    They care about sensationalism and ratings, the more absurd the story, the better the ratings.

    Drones are the stuff Urban Legends are made of and are probably the top rated journalistic "target" of the moment.

    That said, the guy whose Phantom was destroyed certainly deserved at least that and frankly if the police find out who it was he should be prosecuted for public endangerment.

    Idiots like him give us a bad name.

    The problem is they are becoming so easy to fly, inexpensive and readily available that the general public is buying them and flying them without a clue as to reasonable and safe operation.

    Don't know the solution to that, but I think we need one.

    I am doing what I can on the education front with my dronesarefun site but the water is getting deeper fast.

    Best Regards,


  • @hotelzululima: A ridiculous assertion and just as irresponsible (or even more so) as the article: My dentist was seen buying parts for his quad at our LHS and that must mean he is now hovering around our bathroom window to make sure we're brushing our teeth. So you are claiming that LAPD (or any PD for that matter) contains high-tech freelancers who ignore department policy and the standing orders of their superiors and simply deploy whatever devices they choose, like Tom Swift and his Electric Ray Gun, at an incident? You clearly know nothing about how police agencies in general, let alone LAPD, function. Any officer who pulled a stunt like that would be in deep, deep trouble. Please present one single shred of evidence, other than paranoid delusion, of anything like this ever having happened anywhere. Aside from which, exactly how does one gain "situational awareness" of anything by flying a GoPro ten feet over the heads of a crowd? Thanks for muddying the water around a clear case of journalistic malfeasance, I'm sure parasites like the "Business Insider" author are thrilled to have found an ally.

  • Hmm... in this case I am NOT so sure we are not looking at a individual officer owned phantom being used by an individual patrol officer or commander in an badly  thought out attempt to gain "situational awareness".

    I know  a few LEO(s) in the silicon valley area are carrying them in their trunks for private use on breaks, and saw a Phantom Vision  being troubleshot at a local model heli shop for a area shift commander for a local dept.

    This was in Oct  13, since the Birker decision exposed the flaws(no law exists) in FAA enforcement in the US I am sure MANY more officers have acquired same and stash them in their trunks.


  • Comment by Quadzimodo on Thursday

    Don't forget this piece of paranoid nonsense from not more than a month ago.  I was moved to post a rather long-winded reply in response.

    A few weeks later my post had worked it's way to the top of the page, which I assume was quite an effort considering there are nearly 1200 comments on this thread (though I don't know really, this was my first introduction to reddit).  Interestingly, many of the sillier posts have since been deleted by their authors. Incredibly, this even includes the original complaint itself!

    I was glad to see that her rather imaginative and terribly damaging comments had been removed, however the damage caused by this ridiculous story will unfortunately be lasting thanks to the fact that the media has already picked it up and had it's way with it.

    After seeing what this story had become I tried to contact a few media houses, politely outlining the problems with their articles, editorials and videos, and kindly requesting that they update or remove. There are so many of them though, and even those who listen don't seem to care too much about accuracy.  Some with their heads screwed on were happy to remove the relevant content from their website entirely once the update was given, other lazy operators simply save face with an update that simply cut and pasted some cherry-picked text from my email.Others just updated hyperlinks so that they no longer linked back to the original reddit post. Then there are those who just don't seem to care what they write or how accurate it is. Other media houses just recycle.  Then, of course, there are those that appear to simply be men-hating nutcases who simply think that all men are evil and that the one true fact about emerging technologies is that men will find a way to use them to persecute women.

    Oliver - I wrote the above comment just 3 days ago, and since then yet more editorialisations have popped up on google searches of key words and quotes associated with the above story.  This replication of misinformation is likely to continue into infinity like some form of horrible infection, quoted ad nauseum in editorials of a similarly negative nature and used to justify all manner of poisonous ranks.

    It is absolutely true that we could do a great deal more as a collective to hold lazy authors and publishers to account, but I fear that once the genie is out of the bottle there is no way to put it back.

  • UPDATE: Late this evening the author of this pulp fiction, one Hunter Walker (a phoney Hollywood wannabe name if ever there was one), apparently a staff member of this "Business Insider" site,  added to the very bottom of his English 101 essay the following:

    "Update (11:16 p.m.): Several tipsters have emailed Business Insider suggesting the device in the video is one of the models in the DJI "Phantom" series. These are intended for consumer use. Neither the LAPD or DJI have responded to requests for comment on this story."

    Apparently Hunter Walker is so in love with his words that he just can't stand the idea of doing the right thing, which would be to delete them. LAPD is ignoring him as they would any wingnut. I'm mildly amused at being called a "tipster" and DJI I'm sure will just be falling all over themselves responding to this nutcake.

    Folks, we need to start holding these sorts of yellow journalists' feet to the fire. Instead of just moaning to one another, do a little investigating and then post the results, with the authors' or editors' full names and the publication citations, on places like this and on social media. And send them an email letting them know that their name and or their publications name has been linked to whatever deconstruction you've put together. Stick to factual errors, there are always plenty of those.  What will happen over time is that these people will realize that they don't look so good in search engine results when they blather on about "drones" without doing their homework. Nobody likes to see legitimate negative stuff about themselves come up in a Google search. 
  • This BS has now been up online for most of the day. I've just sent an email to the author at "Business Insider" politely pointing out the gross error of identification and inviting him to learn a bit about drones here and at Gary McCray's new DronesAreFun.com site. It will be interesting to see how long the article stays up, since it is of very, very little interest once it's clear that the downed drone doesn't belong to LAPD.

  • Some idiot flies their quad over a crowd and provides yet more material for stories on evil drones...  Another idiot brings it down (into the crowd?).  No sympathy for the "pilot" here.  Even though the real danger from a small quad might be low, when piloted by a fool the risks greatly increase.  All we need is someone in the crowd cut up by taking one of those spinning props to the face posting pictures online or going to the media...

  • The pilot is at fault. Such drones should never be flown over crowds. You're betting other peoples health on your technology functioning 100% correctly. That's always a bad bet. Fly responsibly.

  • The pilot had it coming and it shows how the media twists the truth to fit a pre-defined bias/agenda (as usual). 

    Makes for an entertaining GIF though!

This reply was deleted.