by Mike Masnick
Thu, Mar 27th 2008 9:36pm
Over the last few years, it's been amusing to watch defenders of mainstream journalism trash online journalism by claiming that traditional journalists can do real investigative journalism, whereas online-only sources are too easily suckered into fake stories. In fact, one of the loudest complaints about the demise of newspapers is that no one will do "investigative" reports any more. There's no doubt that newer journalism properties get stories wrong at times, but traditional journalists seem just as likely to screw up as well. Witness the big news about the LA Times getting totally suckered into believing a completely made up story concerning Tupac Shakur's murder. Who broke the LA Times mistake? The online site, TheSmokingGun.com. This isn't to say that new media is any better than traditional media -- but it does highlight that for all the supposed "authority" of traditional journalists and their lofty standards, there's a pretty long track record of stunning mistakes and poorly fact-checked stories made by them.
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