Hitler “Doll” That Never Was: The Media In Inaction

The recent story which hit the world media about sale of “Hitler dolls” in the Ukraine is a classic example of how the media spreads misinformation. The story began two weeks ago when Andriy Kapustin wrote an article in a Ukranian newspaper under the deliberately shocking headline: “Undress Hitler or BarbieFuhrer as a gift.” He claimed to have found the doll in a Kyiv shop and said the price was “1200 hryvnias” which is rather expensive. It appears a few such dolls were made in Taiwan but there is no evidence Ukrainians were actually buying them. Kasputsin was being ironic since such a doll would hardly be sold for such a high price in a city that lost 60% of its residents in WWII.

The “story” was picked up by a Russian newspaper where Oles Buzina, who is known for his dislike of the Urkraine, wrote that what else could one expect from Ukrainians and sonn every child will be given a Hitler doll. The BBC then picked up the story from Buzina and presented it as though factories in the Ukraine were producing Hitler dolls.

Within days stories were appearing in British newspapers about Ukranian toy manufacurers who most probably were going to put out a toy version of a concentration camp. The BBC was told by Ukranian sources its story was spurious and it did remove the story but never issued an apology. The Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail which printed the story have never issued a retraction.

Naturally, the story is still circulating on Internet and other such media outlets, and, given time, it will live on as an example of how Ukranian manufacturers were willing to use Hitler to make a buck.

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