First, get the facts right.

October 13th, 2014 at 9:34 am

Over at PostEverything. We all make mistakes, but surely we can do better than: “he says the world is flat, she says it’s round. Now that we’ve covered all sides of the issue, back after this break.”

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3 comments in reply to "First, get the facts right."

  1. Mario says:

    I think it’s just lazy journalism. And in the era of razor thin margins, it’s tough to blame editors.

    If one person says the world is flat and the other says it’s round, it’s easy to report on the conflict…and you’ll probably get plenty of views for publishing it anyway. If instead, you choose to report on the shape of the world, you have to do all manner of research and there’s no guarantee that you’ll get much in the way of traffic for your efforts. I don’t like it, but I’m not smart enough to think of a better way.

  2. Larry Signor says:

    It might be essential to know the “experts” to gauge the veracity of the argument. If Thomas Frank says white is black, I am going to look into it because he is a serious researcher and inquisitor. If Amity Shlaes says white is white, I feel like I have wandered into an internet porn site with an echo chamber.

  3. Smith says:

    There is no substitute for an informed press. That is why many subjects are covered by experts in their field. Even in matters of opinion, it’s rare to see Krugman giving a movie review, or A.O. Scott assessing economic policy. Certainly Jon Stewart is often better prepared than many of his guests.

    The problem is that news divisions are looked at as revenue generators instead of loss leaders and a public service required to compensate for monopoly of the broadcast spectrum. Change the FTC regulations and culture back to where it used to be, and you’ll see better journalism. Keep news divisions primary function as entertainment, and you’ll continue to see a degradation.

    But the worse part is the lack of political opposition. When someone hedges on whether evolution is proven science or a theory that should compete with creationism, no one derides the politician for injecting his religious beliefs on to others. When opposition candidates can’t bring themselves to speak the truth, it makes it much harder for reporters to do their job.
    “Candidate A announced today that white was black, Candidate B denounced Candidate A by saying he while he supported those who saw white as white he also sympathized with those who saw white as black. Is white black? Or black white? Is there a gray area? What about the Synesthetes? Back after these messages.