Posted by: thescoundrel | June 24, 2008

Photographer Created Lost Amazon Tribe Hoax

The professional News Services have let their armor get tarnished once again. It seems that the recent News Story about finding a lost tribe in the Amazon Jungle was just a hoax perpetrated by a photographer looking to draw attention to logging practices and the industry’s effects on an already known Amazon Tribe. Too bad about the hoax, because the photographer tainted what would have been a story that is well worth world-wide debate concerning industrial encroachment on cultural customs. It is still a topic worthy of debate. However now this story and anything the photographer has to offer in the future will have the stench of fraud and deception. The story, photographer and news services all lose credibility. And the public becomes even more cynical about the news media industry.


  1. I don’t get it. You make it sound like a career ending mistake. Why is it that serious for the reporter and the news service? So they reported something told to them that turned out not to be true. News stories run all the time reporting claims that are not true. I just read a story this morning about a new car that it’s Japaneese developers claim runs on water. Just put water in the gas tank and off you go. Anyone who knows anything about chemistry knows that is obviously untrue, but there is unlikely to even ever be a retraction, much less an orgy of industry agonizing over it.

    With so many untrue things being reported with a straight face every day what makes this particular one so note-worthy?

  2. It’s not a hoax. The picture is legit and that really is an ‘uncontacted’ tribe. The picture was claimed to have been uncontacted group, an exageration, but it wasn’t staged. The photo and the story are relevent and still serve their purpose for educating the world.

  3. […] […]

  4. Wes no matter how it is spun the stories credibility is shot to pieces. The tribe has been known since 1908. The photographer has admitted that he was using the photo to “make” a story that would draw attention to the region. It should have been a great story without the hoax, but due to the intentional deception of the story, the whole picture and anything it touches becomes suspect. People who report news live in glass houses, they cannot afford to create the news as there are enough real mistakes made by accident, laziness an poor choices. It destroys their credibility.

  5. Dave, isn’t there a responsibility for the press to verify a story, not just print whatever is handed them by whatever group wants to make news?

  6. “isn’t there a responsibility for the press to verify a story, not just print whatever is handed them..”
    I would have thought so, but there are an awful lot of stories written nowadays that consist entirely of “he said..she said” without any attempt by the reporter to determine which one is correct. Thousands of news stories of that type have been written as part of the current presidential campaign.

  7. But does this make it right?

    Let’s face it, Dan Rather lost his job (and he should have) for making a story up, or accepting as fact, something that was not.

  8. The Yahoo! Buzz item is flat out wrong! There is NOTHING about the Amazon Tribe story that is a hoax. The Observer (London) and Perth Now articles it links to are grossly inaccurate and misleading. The Observer article has a link to the original May 30th story in the Guardian, which got the story exactly right. READ IT. There was no deception whatsoever on the part of Meirelles or anyone else, and he never referred to them as “lost” or “undiscovered”, only “uncontacted”, which is true. He was also completely up front about the reason for the photos: to prove the tribe’s existence to any skeptics and demonstrate the need to protect their habitat. He didn’t “recently come clean” about anything, because there was nothing to come clean about. The only people who thought a “lost” tribe had been “discovered” were simply not paying attention to the original story. Some lazy and/or irresponsible news outlets started attaching words like “lost” and “discovery” when no such statements were ever made by Meirelles or anyone else involved. The use of the word “hoax” is completely inaccurate, irresponsible and inflammatory. Every minute this item stands uncorrected, it is hurting the cause of indigenous tribes’ survival. JB

  9. The word “hoax” is totally accurate describing the way the story was promoted. As the originator of the story he had a responsibility to make sure the story was portrayed accurately. At this point, I imagine Meirelles will have to ride the bad press wave and hope for the best if he is not at fault. The “Lost Tribe” story became a Tsunami on the Internet. Now that the story is coming out that the tribe was not a lost tribe it is backlashing, since the story originated with him. He will probably get to carry the major burden for the backlash and take the big fall. And as I said in my comments the real story that was worth talking about will get overshadowed by the hoax elements that the story morphed in to. That is what happens when press create news instead of reporting news and then they get caught with their hands playing with their private parts, watching the porn show they created.

  10. Your reasoning is baffling. A hoax is a deliberate intention to mislead. Did you read the May 30 Guardian article? Or check out the May 30 coverage by, or, or yahoo! news? As you said, the story “morphed”. There was nothing misleading in most of the original coverage, before people started embellishing the story, adding things Meirelles never said. If I tell 20 newspapers the sky is blue and they write it correctly, then one newspaper somewhere picks up the story and incorrectly says “Jim B claims sky has JUST TURNED blue”, and suddenly everyone starts saying I said that, how can I control that? Is it my fault? Does that make it a hoax? No, it’s bad reporting by a few papers, and rumor-mongering by people who don’t care about the truth. Meirelles can’t control the press any more than you or I can. He is a Brazilian government official who speaks Portugese. He gave honest interviews, and most of the stories were accurate. But Beaumont’s misleading June 22 article was picked up by a Rupert Murdoch-owned Australian tabloid (Perth Now), which twisted the facts horribly, and then (through the magic of the Internet) their completely inaccurate version spread like a virus within a few days. How can he control newspapers in England and Australia, and all the gullible bloggers who can’t be bothered to check their facts? The group that released the photos with Meirelles — Survival International — has been tireless in their efforts to correct the misperceptions and inaccuracies spread by Beaumont, Perth Now, Yahoo! Buzz, and webloggers like you. Take 30 seconds and do a Google search on “amazon tribe hoax” and you will see how hard Survival is trying to get the truth out and correct the misperceptions. They have even been posting corrective comments on individual blogs like yours. But once the rumor is out there, once the word “hoax” has been uttered, the damage can never be completely undone. Take the example of the Sunday Observer article. They published it last Sunday, and all the “hoax” rumors have appeared since then as a result. Because of the efforts of Survival, The Observer is reportedly going to print a correction this coming Sunday. But how much difference do you think that will make? Even when shown the facts and the truth, some people will stubbornly cling to the lie that fits in with their world view. I hope you are not one of them. JB

  11. I read the story disclaimer but like it or not the story morphed into a hoax. Hey I feel sorry for the guy if he is in the innocent. The story may have started out as legit. But it was his story originally and his name that will carry the load of the blame. It is bad for him, worse for the discussions that could have been had from the legit story. The story could have been a legit discussion about the pros and cons surrounding the information within the article. Now the discussion will be overshadowed by a hoax story. But that is often the case of modern news, the original story is not sexy enough to suit someone and the news becomes created not reported. Reporting is becoming lost. Quicky journalism is replacing it.

  12. It is a real tribe that is facing a real ecological and environmental threat and potential disaster in the decades to come. I was comforted to know that humanity is still thriving in its natural state, closely tied to nature. Most of the world did not know they existed and this attention raised their awareness. It’s about the loss natural of human habitat, regardless. If things don’t change, even the found tribes will be lost fairly soon.

  13. Greating from the Peruvian Amazon!

    There is no hoax and there was no attempt to mislead. The only thing misleading is the Guardian calling this a hoax. For a nice discussion of Amazon tribes, please visit Amazon Tribes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: