A reporter was trying to interview my mother about my sister. My mother said, "It's not that we don't think you're important but ...". This wound up in print as, "It's...that we dont think you're important."
Remember, it is the job of the media to get a compelling story out there. They don't care about the truth. They don't care about informing people. They want to create interesting stories that suck people in, and punish people who fail to give them access to information that they wanted (whether or not they had any right to pry).
When we see subjects that we understand misreported in the media, we invariably cringe. When you see subjects you don't know anything about reported in the media, your default assumption should be that if you knew the subject better, you would cringe, and the only reason you're not cringing is that you don't know better.
Not that I think it's an easy job to have to always be talking, while not knowing what you're talking about. I just think it's wrong that it's always portrayed as delivering facts, when it must be closer to hastily jotting down a lot of disjoint words, phrases, and half-quotes, and then trying to reconstruct a plausible-sounding story from it later.
Honestly, whoever did this is a failure at their job. This can't be a common practice because it's so blatantly wrong. Even Reddit commentors don't get upvoted for crap like this.
And is this one guy somehow the "standard"? Because it sounds like you had one or two bad experiences and decided to generalize your feelings to an entire profession. We've all run into a bad ______ who we can't understand how he still has a job, but that doesn't mean ______ as a whole are bad. (Fill in "journalists," "programmers," "waiters," "doctors" or pretty much anything else.)
I'm not familiar with that guy or with Wired's editorial standards in general, but I do think you're being unreasonably broad in a way that you wouldn't be if, say, you'd met a bumbling computer scientist.
One time is an anecdote; two times starts to be compelling. 6/6 times has a reasonable level of statistical significance.
FWIW, I'm somewhat convinced that a majority of computer programmers would fall under the general umbrella of "bumbling," though I don't think I'd use that term. "Marginally competent" might fit the bill better.
The fact that you saw the retraction should tell you that kind of writing does not meet the paper's standard. Editors don't enjoy writing notices to the effect of "Oops, I totally failed at my job there." They do it because the alternative is an even worse blow to the paper's integrity.
How much personal exposure have you had to journalists? They generally are smart enough that they could get a facile grasp on a technical issue in the limited time they have if they really wanted to, but it's rarely a wise use of their time. Human interest, nearest cliche, drama, all of these bring more eyeballs. High quality journalism will get you better quality (richer) attention but there are a lot more people who read US News, or the Sun, or Die Bild than read quality press.
tl;dr Journalists sell eyeballs, not truth
Journalist: btilly, would you ever rape a child?
btilly: No comment.
Headline: btilly refuses to rule out raping children
Next week they'll ask whether you're running for president, and if you don't comment on that then the cover of Time will be a picture of your face with the caption "Is America Ready For a Child-Raping President?"
I'm very glad to have never had to deal with it.
In Japan, there is evidence of collusion between news organizations and both political parties/figures and corporate sponsors. This leads to actual censorship in the news. So while blatant lies such as those found in Vanity, may not be a prevalent, it is clear that in some countries stories important news would never even have the ring of full disclosure.
The truth was reported. My mother said that. She could not honestly claim to have been misquoted.
The quote was slimy, misleading, manipulative, and many other derogatory things. However the one thing that it was not was illegal.
That is exactly what the journalist in question did. The omitted section of sentence was the word not, and it appeared at the end of a sentence.
If words are left off at the end of a sentence, and that is all that is omitted, indicate the omission with ellipsis marks (preceded and followed by a space) and then indicate the end of the sentence with a period … . http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/marks/ellipsis.htm
The Chicago Manual of Style says that "other punctuation [besides the ellipsis, that is] may be used on either side of the three ellipsis dots if it helps the sense or better shows what has been omitted." Then, later, it says "When the last part of a quoted sentence is omitted and what remains is still grammatically complete, four dots — a period [or exclamation/question mark] followed by three ellipsis dots — are used to indicate the omission." And finally, "Three dots — no period — are used at the end of a quoted sentence that is deliberately and grammatically incomplete." http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/grammarlogs2/grammarl...
Also, I have no CMS subscription, but here's a public-facing FAQ that seems relevant:
These sources appear to confirm my uneducated belief, which agrees with btilly, that ellipses may be used to mark any omission, of any size, including within a sentence or spanning sentences (wp's comment on CMOS implies omitting entire paragraphs is legal).
But I guarantee that the journalist deliberately omitted the word "not" to completely reverse the meaning of the sentence.
Not exactly -- it's against the law to publish facts that the publisher knows to be false. So the standard isn't truth, it's honesty.
It's very hard to prove a journalist is being deliberately misleading. So it's only been used in the case of Holocaust deniers and even then the Supreme Court ruled that the law was not compatible with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The government has shifted the false news law to being a regulatory requirement for broadcasters, but it's unclear whether this isn't still unconstitutional.
FOX News, in my estimation, does seem to cross the line when it comes to repeating statements they know (or should know) to be false, often over the course of several days. So I can see why they want even the regulation withdrawn.
More details: http://openmedia.ca/blog/false-news-and-crtc-who-asked-what-...
In short, you'd be amazed at what happens to the families of movie stars.
Both Reuters and Al-Jazeera come across as attempting to be as objective as possible about the stories they cover. In fact, the former has been criticized for the policy of objective language.
I think the key is to try to figure out who's useful for what subject matter. Vanity Fair is probably not reliable for anything.
I'm not really seeing this frothing at the mouth you're speaking of, particularly when you leave out Opinion articles rather than reporting. (But HN is really not the place for this conversation...)
Though it seems that the photos were faked by low-level partisans on the ground, not by high-on decree from Reuters itself.
Reuters isn't significantly better or worse than anyone else, in the scheme of things, but it's a bad idea to have too much faith in any news outlet, regardless of how sophisticated it may currently make you sound when you brag about how you get all your news from Al Jazeera. (Personally I get all my news from Taiwanese animations.)