Newspapers Caught In Embarrassing Snafu Over Embarrassing Journalists
from the this-is-true dept
Fact checkers? Who needs ’em? Apparently not a bunch of well-known newspapers who got caught using a 10-year-old story that had been reprinted in an online newsletter about random weird news stories (found via E-Media Tidbits). In this case, the editor of the site This Is True put together some old favorite odd news items for a December issue about a Chinese contest giving out prizes to anyone who finds errors in certain Chinese publications to try to embarrass bad journalists (yes, this is about to get ironic). At least three well-known newspapers, the Toronto Star, the Wisconsin State Journal, and the Rocky Mountain News all published the story last week without checking into the facts and finding out that it was a decade old — raising questions about who will give out the bounty for calling out these publications. The Wisconsin State Journal (the other WSJ) ran it and credited This Is True at the bottom, so were the least “guilty” of the parties. The Rocky Mountain News (which has taken the story down), credited Reuters — who had published the original story a decade ago. The Toronto Star, however, published the entire story word-for-word without credit and then added its own commentary based on what Randy Cassingham, the editor of This Is True originally wrote, saying that journalists can’t be embarrassed. Apparently, by keeping the story up despite the facts, they’re trying to prove this is true. This kind of thing happens all the time, of course — but it is especially amusing since it’s the big newspapers that always seem to be saying that blogs and other online news sources are the untrustworthy ones — whereas they have real journalists and fact checkers and such. Just a reminder, again, that no single source is particularly trustworthy on its own.