Saturday, August 18, 2007

I love the media...

Every single time in my life I have personally known details of a news story, the media have got some basic facts wrong. Every single time, including stuff which made the headlines on Sky, BBC, stuff near the front of major national newspapers, etc. Except, of course, the ones where they were so lazy they just repeated a press release pretty much verbatim. Some of them have been true.

To be fair to them, despite their massive biases in some areas, the BBC at least ask people involved to check the facts.

An example recently is quite funny. A few weeks ago, a man called Oli Young started a group on Facebook called "If 100,000 people join this group, my wife will let me name my second child Spiderpig". Such things are fairly common on Facebook, but for some reason this one took off. It was reported on lots of different news networks, including the Times and Sky News.

The problem was that this one was a joke - there was no child and no intention of naming them Spiderpig. It even said that on the website linked to prominently from the Facebook group, and Mr Young told anyone who asked that it was a joke.

Oli Young writes:

I also learnt about the gullibility and laziness of main stream media when it comes to "teh internets". Neither The Metro, Sky News nor any other media orgs that went to press with this "story" actually talked with me, they took it at face value and made somewhat fools of themselves with it. Other orgs did contact me, including the BBC. I felt it necessary to tell them the truth, and once they knew it, they knew there was no story. My entire life is but one google away, it's not that hard to find out about me. I've also turned down paid interviews for "major womens magazines".

I don't know why he thinks this laziness and gullibility is connected to the fact it's the Internet though. Just look at the whole Wycliffe saga. Or any of the other news stories I've known people involved with...

I should probably add that as far as I am aware, Ruth Gledhill is the only responsible religion journalist working for a national newspaper. She at least makes an effort to find out what is going on.

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