Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What If Everything You Read Was Wrong?

Oh.  Isn't that a sweet picture.  And wasn't that something what Morgan Freeman said?  How terrible that they banned Bibles there.

Welcome to the social media, where everything can be, and likely in some part, is wrong.  More times than not recently, maliciously wrong.

They call them "memes", and we talked at length about what they mean and their impact -- good and evil -- on society.  I subscribe to the theory they are mental viruses.  The bad ones spread with an r-naught of frightening scale.

No, Ben Stein didn't write that about Christmas.

Hey smarty-pants, how did you get so smart?  First, when you see those juicy long stories -- particularly the ones that you need to "see more" -- that should be the first indicator.  Second, if it's too good (or to bad) to be true, it probably isn't, and a quick visit to snopes.com can clear that up.  The website specializes in vetting internet and urban rumors.

In a world where being "true enough" and trading in the fark of the day goes for news, we miss the vetting that came from timely journalism.  Problem there is in the rush to first, the truth is the first casualty.  Report then verify from the twitter world.  Adding more memes, eroding a little more of our confidence in what we read.

Why Craig Silverman made a book and a career out of tracking those infamous Regret the Error statements in print.  Now working at Poynter, he just issued his 2012 best and worsts of media.  You might give it a read to see what story you might still believe is true because you missed the retraction. What, Morgan Freeman is not dead (and others)?

(Total sidebar: my sports industry friends MUST read the Silverman piece and scroll to the bottom to find what might be the most true piece of sports journalism of the year -- many a truth is told in jest).

No comments: