Journalism Warning Labels: This Article Is Just A Press Release Copied & Pasted

from the who-reads-newspapers-any-more? dept

Romenesko points us to an amusing offering from a guy, Tom Scott, who noted that newspapers put warning labels on content that involves “sex, violence or strong language,” but have no such warning labels for “sloppy journalism and other questionable content.” So he made them. He’s put together a printable document of journalism warning labels (and someone else has created a US formatted version (pdf)). Some of them are pretty damn funny. Here are just a few, though you should check out the whole list:

Warning: Statistics, survey results and/or equations in this article were sponsored by a PR company:

Warning: This article is basically just a press release, copied and pasted:

Warning: This article is based on an unverified anonymous tipoff.

Warning: To meet a deadline, this article was plagiarised from another news source.

Warning: Journalist does not understand the subject they are writing about.

Warning: To ensure future interview with subject, important questions were not asked.

Of course, this assumes anyone actually still reads paper newspapers…

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Comments on “Journalism Warning Labels: This Article Is Just A Press Release Copied & Pasted”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

At least techdirt has mostly unmoderated comments (except for spammers of course) that allows criticisms. If you have any criticisms speak up. The MSM tends to censor criticisms and avoid debate. For instance, they are more than happy to put a pro patent position on television but they will never put MM (who would be more than glad to discuss the debate the issues) on MSM. See

They gladly hold pro copy protection positions but they are reluctant to debate anything with critics.

You’re here commenting, no one is stopping you. If you have a problem speak up. Why is it that anti IP people are more than willing to engage in debate while pro IP people are only willing to censor any dissenting views? Who should I believe, those who want to openly discuss the issues (techdirt) or those who only want to brainwash everyone to believe a specific position (MSM) without allowing critics to discuss or debate these issues.

Mr Big Content says:

Re: Re: Techdirt Debates

Is it any wonder that representatives of legitimate Intellectual Property organizations are reluctant to engage in the so-called “free debate” on Techdirt? They know full well this is not a welcoming, nurturing environment where all points of view are equally accepted and valued. Maybe if you people looked aside from your narrow focus on so-called “facts”, you might discover other, more profound points of view that transcend those “facts”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Techdirt Debates

“Is it any wonder that representatives of legitimate Intellectual Property organizations are reluctant to engage in the so-called “free debate” on Techdirt?”

I wasn’t referring to debates on Techdirt.

“They know full well this is not a welcoming, nurturing environment where all points of view are equally accepted and valued.”

First of all no one is stopping you from commenting here and no one is stopping others from coming here and agreeing. It is the mainstream media, that censors opposing views, that is not welcoming of all points of view.


Why should we, or anyone, equally accept and value the point of view that 2 + 2 = 5 over the viewpoint that 2 + 2 = 4

What’s wrong with people not accepting certain points of view, especially fallacious ones. You think that people should simply accept a point of view because you said so?

Viewpoints must gain acceptance through their merits, not through your mere proclamations.

Perhaps if you can defend your viewpoint with logic and reasoning, instead of merely asking for acceptance, you might actually get acceptance.

Blatant Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

There must be something broken with my computer, because this article I am reading has noting about any news source being immune to the need for these labels.

Are you perhaps just angry that you can’t hire the HOPA girl? Or her brother mayhaps?

Anyhoo, Techdirt is certainly not immune, Please feel free to put as may stickers on your monitor as you like.

Anonymous Coward says:

This should be required for every piece of journalism. But everyone should verify information from news sources. It annoys the hell out of me when my mother-in-law starts talking about the crap she read in the local paper without verifying it. And she repeats it as if its coming from her instead of “what I read in the paper….”.

If someone says…”I heard it on the news” or “I read it in the paper”…I feel its completely unreliable and I definitely dont repeat it until I’ve verified it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I also subscribe to the paper-paper for the local stuff (and skimming the paper every day is a decades old habit I don’t care to drop), but increasingly I’m getting into seeing what they’re writing about things I’ve seen on the web already, if it’s verbatim, or in any more in depth, or anything like objective, etc.

It’s almost akin to the Jumble.

Brad Hubbard (profile) says:

This would be an awesome Plugin!

Now let’s take this to it’s next logical, social+media+web2.0 level.

A service where users can issue warning labels on sites they visit which fall into one of these categories. Other users see the warning labels, comment accordingly, and the most commonly given label stays at the top. Doesn’t have to be just negative, too.

Great thing? You do it all through a browser plugin – like Web Of Trust for content quality rather than just malware. Sites who WANT to boast having original, well-researched content can voluntarily display their badges.

Hmm, I might have to work on this…

Beta (profile) says:

a few more I'd like to see

[suggested icons in brackets]

Article may contain classic logical fallacies. [ancient Greek philosopher, exasperated]

Extensive quotes from uninformed officials and/or celebrities. [person surrounded by microphones, emitting many speech bubbles]

Information in last paragraph may debunk entire article. [reader examining bottom of page with magnifying glass, thought bubble with exclamation mark]

Extreme abuse of statistics. Mathematically literate readers may experience headaches, dizziness. [graph with curve drawn through some points, others crossed out]

Vague language throughout. [clouds]

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