Alison Buttigieg, a wildlife photographer, clicked a picture of a mother cheetah teaching her cubs how to kill an impala. The picture soon went viral but with a false story attached to it. The story alleged that the impala sacrificed itself so that her babies could have a better chance of escaping the cheetahs. Moreover, it claimed that after clicking this series of pictures, the photographer went into depression.
Neither of these claims is true and Alison has spoken out against them. Here’s what she said in her Facebook post:
In order to set the record straight, she posted the real story behind the picture series.The impala had no intention of sacrificing itself but was in fact paralysed with fear.
“I wanted the viewer to sympathise with the impala, and at the same time witness with me the disturbing nature of this unusual kill.”
While Alison wanted to try and convey such complex emotions through these pictures, the fake caption attached to it completely distorted that objective. Instead, what the user saw was a cliched story of sacrifice. Moreover, she was branded a “depressed photographer” which understandably hurt her career prospects.
Alison’s story is a vivid example of how the promulgation of fake news, distorted facts and inflated claims could prove detrimental to one’s career. There’s a simple but important lesson to be learnt from all of this.
Do not trust everything you read and hear at first instance. Think about where it’s coming from or who is saying it. A little bit of critical thinking will do wonders for the human civilisation.