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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Journalism? Don't make me laugh

Inconvenient Truth Old media like to say that new media (such as bloggers and Wikipedia) are unreliable sources. In some cases, that is true. But are they any more unreliable than old media?

A UK High Court judge has rejected a lawsuit by political activist Stuart Dimmock to ban the showing of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth in English schools. Justice Burton said that:
Al Gore's presentation of the causes and likely effects of climate change in the film was broadly accurate.
There were nine points where Burton decided that AIT differed from the IPCC and that this should be addressed in the Guidance Notes for teachers to be sent out with the movie. Old media journalists misreported this decision by stating that AIT contained nine scientific errors (Daily Telegraph, The Times, New York Times, The Independent, Melbourne Herald Sun, The Guardian, Nature, The BBC, The Washington Post, ABC News, and a few more. Plus all the syndicated suckers which spread this misinformation. Reliable? I don't think so.

Veteran BBC TV composer and arranger Ronnie Hazlehurst died recently. But when his obituaries appeared in the old media (BBC News, The Guardian, The Independent, The Times, The Stage, Reuters), they all reported that he had emerged from retirement a few years ago to co-write the song 'Reach', a hit for pop group S Club 7 (hats off to The Telegraph which didn't). An anonymous edit on Wikipedia introduced the hoax into the entries for both Hazlehurst and the S Club 7 song. Reliable? I don't think so.

Old media are in desperate trouble. I'd be sympathetic if:
a) They didn't spend so much time telling me how unreliable new media are as information sources.
b) They weren't digging their own grave.
It's an inconvenent truth.

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