Okay, here’s the basic news story:
Associated Press Exclusive — Millions in Malaria Drugs Stolen. The AP reports:
A global health fund believes millions of dollars worth of its donated malaria drugs have been stolen in recent years, vastly exceeding the levels of theft previously suspected, according to confidential documents obtained by The Associated Press.
The internal investigation by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria comes two months into a new anti-corruption program that the fund launched after an AP report detailing fraud in their grants attracted intense scrutiny from donors.
Gee, that doesn’t sound too good. Sounds like that Swiss-cheese-eating, wine-drinking bunch at the Global Fund needs to get its act together. Good thing the media is dogging it, eh?
Well, here’s a little background — an admittedly somewhat glib report I did on a similar episode in January 24, 2011: Global Fund Identifies Fraud, Media Has Learned!
I wrote that in response to the first story the AP did alleging “massive fraud” at the Global Fund (see the link in the pull quote above) which was — like this week’s story — based on an anonymous tipster and leaked documents.
In the first story, it turned out that it was the Global Fund itself that, months earlier, had announced it was investigating these allegations of fraud — which represent only about 0.3 percent of its total funding.
So now this week comes a story that looks pretty similar, claiming the Global Fund has allowed the theft of “millions of dollars” of malaria drugs.
It’s portrayed as a problem that was discovered thanks to the anti-corruption investigation launched by the AP’s earlier news story.
This misleading narrative and media self-congratulation is making my head hurt.