Thursday, April 18, 2013

Question Everything

Because the accuracy of what you're seeing, hearing, and reading is just ghastly.

The New York Post was derided Tuesday for apparent inaccuracies in its reporting on the bombing at the Boston Marathon. And now, its rival tabloid, the Daily News, is facing criticism over an apparent photo touch-up.

On yesterday's cover wrap, the News ran a photo taken by John Tlumacki of The Boston Globe showing an injured woman lying in a pool of blood while being tended to by a civilian.
It was one of many widely circulated images capturing the moments after explosives were detonated near the finish line of the marathon on Monday afternoon, killing as least three and wounding more than 170 in a likely terrorist attack about which police are still scrambling to scare up leads.

But the version published by the News seemed to erase a gory wound to the woman's leg that was visible in other publications that used the photo. On Tuesday evening, a link to a blog post exposing the manipulation began circulating among News journalists, some of whom were none-too-pleased about the situation, multiple newsroom sources told Capital

The graphic photo -- before and after Photoshopping -- is at that last link.

We should remind ourselves that this sort of thing happens constantly, and not just on our Facebook pages. If you're like me, you barely have ingrained a Snopes habit of verifying everything you read. Now you have to add "photographs often lie" to the list, right behind politicians and car salesmen.

-- Andy Kroll at Mother Jones with the emphasis expressed in the title above. Richard Jewell, the Atlanta Olympics "bomber", was innocent. (Eric Rudolph was guilty.) There was no fire on the National Mall on the morning of 9/11/01 as CNN claimed. It wasn't Muslim jihadists that slew dozens of Norwegians two years ago; a James Holmes shot and killed people in an Aurora movie theater but not that Jim Holmes; and poor Ryan Lanza initially got the blame for what his brother, Adam, did at Sandy Hook Elementary.

These are just a few hideous examples of the damage that the race to break first has done. As I wrote earlier in the week, our increasing reliance on social media is making it worse.

I'm with Eileen.

Update: One serious, one not so much. You decide which is which.

“After monitoring every minute of CNN’s broadcast since Monday, we have found hearsay, rumors, falsehoods, and a steady stream of inane commentary,” one authority said. “Everything but information.”

“I fear we have permanently entered the Age of the Retraction. All the lessons of the past — from Richard Jewell to NPR’s announcement of the death of Gabby Giffords to CNN’s erroneous report on the Supreme Court Ruling on ObamaCare — fail to inform the present. The rush to be first has so thoroughly swallowed up the principle of being right and first that it seems a little egg on the face is now deemed worth the risk.” 

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