Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fact-Checking the Fact-Checkers

This post (via John Cole) sounds almost exactly like an exchange I had with a reporter for another of the MSM. In my case, I suspect I was a bit more civil. I asked the reporter how he made his judgements on whether a source was reliable. Now that cuts pretty close to the bone, so I can see that there might be some sensitivity there. But it's not an unreasonable question to ask. I had, however, critiqued an article of his in a forum where both of us participate.

His first response was incoherent and accusing, in addition to being quite nonresponsive to the question I had asked. I calmly tried to clarify, but that seems to have made things worse, judging from his response.

If you write for a publication that advertises itself as covering politics, philosophy, and fruit, you have a different attitude than if you write for The Washington Post, newspaper of record. But should there be that big a difference? Shouldn't both try for the very highest quality coverage, the most reliable, and therefore be able to respond civilly and calmly to questions that might even imply criticism?

I suppose, though, if you're working for a medium that doesn't seem to be keeping up with the technology, and that same technology has provided a whole raft of folks who are doing some things better than you are, you might be a bit defensive. But that's always a bad strategy, and, in internet exchanges, you always have time to think out what you're writing.

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