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.

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Comments on “Scary: It's 'Newsworthy' That A Newspaper Prints Facts”

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David Muir (profile) says:

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.

Mr Big Content says:

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.

Tor (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Tor (profile) says:

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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