Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Do they teach fact checking?

This weeks tragic mining incident shows the media's systemic inability to get facts right. It would have taken a few minutes to confirm if in fact all, or most, of the miners were found alive with one of the many officials on the scene but many ran with the incorrect story. Playing fast and loose with the facts is so prevalent in the media I have to wonder how many journalist have journalism degrees and do they teach fact checking? The equally evil twin of playing fast and loose with the facts is story spin. There was probably a time when any media story labeled news had little to no spin...ah, the good old days. These days the media and politicians throw around innuendo, guilt by association and outright lies with impunity. This mining accident story also illustrates how disconnected the media is from news with tabloid journalism taking its place. Many media outlets, with FOX being notably bad, had 24 hour coverage of the incident and then when the outcome was clear went on incessantly about the timeline of how the incorrect news of surviving miners got out.

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