Journalism

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
fact checking, journalism



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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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    darus67, 15 Jul 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"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Dark Helmet (profile), 15 Jul 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....

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2010 @ 2:58pm

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

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Alias (profile), 15 Jul 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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    The Mighty Buzzard (profile), 15 Jul 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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    David Muir (profile), 15 Jul 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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Gak, 15 Jul 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!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        harbingerofdoom (profile), 15 Jul 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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Jul 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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mr Big Content, 15 Jul 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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    BentFranklin (profile), 15 Jul 2010 @ 7:49pm

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

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Tor (profile), 15 Jul 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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jul 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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Tor (profile), 16 Jul 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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Free Capitalist (profile), 16 Jul 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

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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