Scary: It's 'Newsworthy' That A Newspaper Prints Facts

from the what-has-the-world-become dept

It's really incredible how much "he said/she said" reporting is out there these days, where some (certainly not all) reporters seem to think it's their job to "report both sides of the story." Of course, there are all sorts of problems with that: a story may have a lot more than two sides (or perhaps one fewer). And, some of those sides might not be telling the truth. But some (again, not all) reporters act as though as long as they report what the different sides are saying, they have no obligation to point out when any of the parties are being less than truthful. At times, it gets even worse, when reporters just report one side of a story... and that one side isn't even close to truthful.

The problem is that some have decided that "objective" reporting means not actually pointing out false statements. Unfortunately for those who believe that, it seems pretty clear that people like it when reporters actually call people on blatantly false statements, as they find that very useful. But it's still a pretty sad day when the fact that a newspaper has started fact-checking what politicians say is considered newsworthy. It shows just how far some newspapers have sunk. Equally amusing, of course, is the claim from one politician that such fact-checking represents "a new low," and that kind of thing belongs "on the editorial page." Calling someone out on a blatantly false statement is not editorial and doesn't belong just on the opinion pages. People look to news organizations to report the news, and that means highlighting the truth and calling out lies. Just because you point out that someone is not being truthful, it doesn't make it opinion or bias. It makes it useful.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 2:44pm

    First for the second time today...hehehe....on topic.. I believe that the linked article is an exaggeration and whatever maybe Mike's personal belief, there are always two sides of the story...always.

     

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  2.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 2:51pm

    Re:

    First: Once upon a time, many months ago, doing the "first" thing was declared offensive. Please desist.

    Second: Your view is simplistic, usually there are myriad sides to a story.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    darus67, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 2:56pm

    Three sides

    The great philosopher, Don Henley, said,
    "There's three sides to every story:
    Yours and mine and the cold, hard truth"

     

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  4.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 2:58pm

    Re: Three sides

    Yeah, but nobody could hear him over the sound of Joe fucking Walsh belting out some tasty licks on his axe while also snorting a line of blow....

    God Joe Walsh is awesome....

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 2:58pm

    now imagine if you could do that in a blog. nahh.

     

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  6.  
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    Alias (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 3:05pm

    Agree

    >>Just because you point out that someone is not being truthful, it doesn't make it opinion or bias. It makes it useful.

    Word.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Alan Gerow, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 3:09pm

    Re:

    There's always only one side to a story ... and an unlimited number of variations.

     

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  8.  
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    AdamR (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 3:12pm

    Re: Re:

    Always thought they were three sides, mines, yours and the truth.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 3:21pm

    Re:

    Exactly. Everything is bipolar. Everything boils down to a yes or no question. No doubt about it.

    Now answer this with yes or no:

    "Are you still a cannibal?"

    Remember, there are only two sides to any question. :p

     

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  10.  
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    The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 4:31pm

    Eh, given that reporters aren't any more immune to believing what they want regardless of the truth than anyone else, I prefer they not even bother.

     

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  11.  
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    David Muir (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 5:33pm

    The function of a newspaper

    Obsessed with "new" information, newspapers often ignore a key function that they can still serve pretty effectively: that of archivist. Whether or not something is a blatant lie is one thing, but merely showing how inconsistent a person's position has been over time can be useful too. The information is usually out there on the net for any of us to find, but for reporters to do that little bit of extra work in the archives is one of the few remaining ways they can prove their value-add.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 5:40pm

    Indeed scary.

    I think people don't even realized yet what the politician person just said there.

    Basically he finds unacceptable that people go out and dig some facts that contradicts what he said.

     

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  13.  
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    Mr Big Content, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 6:22pm

    Scientists Should Be More Like Journalists

    Scientists are a group that traditionally has been fond of coming down firmly on one side of a question or the other. I think science should work the way journalists work, giving equal time to both sides of the argument, and letting people make up their own minds, and forget all these needless “fact-checking” distractions. That’s the only way to prove how objective you are.

     

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  14.  
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    Gak, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 7:21pm

    Re: The function of a newspaper

    Explains why The Daily Show is so popular. They regularly dig out video to show pols and/or pundits stating outright lies or exhibiting tremendous flip-flopping on issues over time.

    Servicey!

     

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  15.  
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    harbingerofdoom (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 7:39pm

    Re: Re: The function of a newspaper

    the daily show:
    the hardest hitting news show on the air..
    ....and thats pretty sad.


    and thats also blatantly ripped off from the daily show.

     

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  16.  
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    BentFranklin (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 7:49pm

    The press has abdicated its "estate" status. We are now back to three estates.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 8:43pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    THERE ARE EIGHT SIDES IN THE OCTAGON OF TRUTH!!!

     

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  18.  
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    Tor (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 11:42pm

    Lost jobs in the EU music industry more than twice the EU population size

    The largest morning paper here in Sweden (Dagens Nyheter), which is probably by many viewed as our most serious one, published an article the other day where it was claimed that according to a study performed on behalf of the music industry there is a risk that continued music piracy over the next five years will put 1.2 billion jobs in the music industry in the EU at jeopardy. Many bloggers now question if there is any fact checking at all being done, noting that this number corresponds to more than twice the number of citizens in the EU (500 million).

    I guess this shows that the numbers are often so blown out of proportion that many journalists have stopped even trying think about what's reasonable and what's not.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 1:38am

    Re: Re: The function of a newspaper

    Come on, they only show one side and are very biased. As for being so popular, only 1.5 million viewers is hardly what is called popular.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 3:38am

    Re: Re: Re: The function of a newspaper

    Yes, they are biased. Biased against stupidity.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 3:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, but there is only one side on the mobius strip of truth. And no matter how much you go around it, you always come back to the same place you started in.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2010 @ 3:47am

    Re: Lost jobs in the EU music industry more than twice the EU population size

    1.2 Billion jobs? Isn't the world population about 8 billion? And about half (my estimate) of the world population is currently jobless (Spain has an unemployment rate of about 20% for example and my country has about 12%) or unable to work (too young/too old).

    If 1.2B people out of (estimated by me) 4B people work in the music industry, then abut 30% of the world works in the music industry. Which is a blatant lie.

    That number IS completely bogus.

     

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  23.  
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    Tor (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 5:17am

    Re: Re: Lost jobs in the EU music industry more than twice the EU population size

    I did some checks and it seems that the number comes from the report covered in this Techdirt post. Somewhere, somehow the 1.2 million lost jobs, which was a quite questionable number to start with, must have been changed into 1.2 billion. Anyway, I don't think the exact number in itself is that important in this context. What's interesting is how something so obviously wrong can be printed without anybody in the editorial staff reacting.

     

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  24.  
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    Free Capitalist (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 5:27am

    Hot News Rules!

    You guys are crazy! Don't you know how much work fact-checking involves? This writeup is blatant discrimination against journalists with lives, families, tee times, constrained happy hours, and the thirst to be first in print.

    That's what she said, and that's a scientific fact!

    de-sarc

     

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