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Truth and Error in the Blogosphere

ReporterOne of the things the blogosphere is most known for is getting it wrong. At least that’s what we are told by the mainstream media. Its a fair criticism in that unlike mainstream media bloggers don’t have editors or fact checkers at their disposal so a lot of what is written can and will be inaccurate. But that criticism only goes so far when the mainstream media, who have editors and fact checkers at their disposal, are routinely issuing corrections, or are caught ignoring, tilting or even fabricating the news to suite their purpose or political leanings.

Many times in the press a news story on one outlet is nothing more than reporting what another outlet has reported. Fact checking of their own is often put aside and a simple trust is assigned to the original source. Many times this is fine, often it’s not. While anything you read on a blog should not be taken as certain fact, neither should anything written by the mainstream press. My personal opinion is that the blogosphere adds a healthy balance to the monopoly the mainstream press once had. Just take whatever you read with a grain of salt because we are all human and we all make mistakes.

I don’t fancy myself much of a reporter but I’ve recently learned the hard way that it’s easy to get something wrong. Way wrong. When there is something new to report there is a strong desire to get it out there fast and get the “scoop” before anyone else. In doing so its easy to take things at face value without checking and double checking. Sometimes confirmation come slow or not at all which makes it ever more difficult to be sure the information you have is correct.

When I was in college I had a friend that often greatly exaggerated things that I did. In almost all cases the exaggerations made the story better, funnier, and made me look good, but I always made it a point to correct inaccuracies, even at my own expense. I’ve always been a stickler for truth. I don’t like propaganda of any kind and often consider the motivations of those providing information. Just last night I was going through our local voter guide reading through all the ballot measures. It makes me suspicious when the argument AGAINST a proposal uses the arguments FOR the proposal but then says you should vote against it because it doesn’t do ENOUGH. None is better than not enough? That, my friends, is propaganda serving a hidden purpose!

We’ve got to always allow for human error in reporting, but once those errors are identified a full and vigorous correction of those errors, equal to the dissemination of the falsehood, must be issued. Too many times corrections are hidden or an issue suddenly becomes “too complicated” or is “old news”. Neither of these is an excuse. Human error in reporting should be tolerated, but not correcting that error equally as strong should not.

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

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