photo by Fred Wissink, AsiaLIFE

Word is starting to spread about the sensational nature of reportage that has surrounded the potential discovery of Sean Flynn’s remains since we first wrote about the fuzzy journalism on this blog. Writing for Salem-News.com, Tim King has also called into question initial reports on the excavation that led to the discovery, which was carried out by the now notorious Dave Macmillan.

In the article, King, the executive editor of Salem-News.com, says Macmillan may not deserve that notoriety. He covers some of the aspects that initial reports left out, including the following: “Investigator Dave MacMillan, told Salem-News.com that his team acted with the consent of the Cambodian military, local police, local community leaders and landowners, and with the full knowledge of JPAC, (Joint Prisoners of War, Missing in Action Accounting Command) in Hawaii.”

He quotes Macmillan as saying, “We are not amateur bone hunters, we volunteered to help Rory [Flynn] on her mission and worked as her field agents and did not receive payment for what we have done and are still doing, both Mr.Scott Brantley who is a registered private investigator from Nashville Tennessee and myself have combined 35 years of investigation experience between us.”

King was also contacted by Mike Luehring, a representative for the Flynn family, who confirmed Macmillan’s statements and referred to early press coverage of the event as “crazy.”

In an earlier article written by King, the writer includes Macmillan’s 8-point response to implications and accusations made by Sopheang Cheng, who wrote the widely circulated AP article, and Tim Page, the famed war photographer who has also been searching for Sean Flynn, his personal friend, for years. Among Macmillan’s more scathing rebuttals is the following:

“The article neglects to mention that Tim Page had in fact worked closely with me for at least a year on a recent search for Sean Flynn and had publicly stated his intention to publish a book about the project—which would have been his second book about his search for Sean Flynn. He had also been in discussion to make a documentary film about his search, which also would have been his second. His public claims pertaining to our crew being freelance bone hunters and that we desecrated a mass grave is so he can hold onto a production deal for a major documentary he is due to start shooting in Cambodia with Wall to Wall.”

Page has publicly criticized the means by which Macmillan and his acquaintance Keith Rotheram carried out the excavation, saying that their use of an excavator could have potentially disrupted nearby mass graves.

Macmillan responds directly to this criticism:

“Our use of the excavator has been misrepresented. Page’s claim that we potentially harmed a mass grave is inaccurate. The area we dug was a single gravesite. We used the excavator because we knew the grave was deeper than usual, due to the body being weighted down with rocks. All we had to do was carefully skim the soil and feel for rocks, at which point we stopped the machine and I did the rest by hand.”

The remains are currently being DNA tested at a JPAC facility in Hawaii. It is not known when the results will be in, but in the meantime, the events that led to the discovery and the aftermath are adding up to a story in itself.

Contributed by Tom DiChristopher

Jeff Holt/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The international media seems to be cadging on to the minutiae of everyday life in Vietnam. Michael Sullivan recently contributed this piece to NPR that chronicles Vietnam’s epidemic of motorbike text messaging, a major contributor to the country’s abysmal traffic safety record. (According to the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation, traffic accidents are the leading cause of child and adolescent deaths–approximately six children a day died in accidents in 2007.)

Our favorite part is the bit in which Sullivan quotes Pham Thi Thuy Linh, a 21-year-old student who was named fastest text messager in a contest sponsored by a mobile phone company: “I think I’m about 20 or 30 percent slower texting on my bike. And it’s easier to make mistakes because I’m trying to watch the road in front of me.”

Yikes.

Contributed by Tom DiChristopher