Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Best Answer to Bad Speech

"I've always thought the best answer to bad speech was better speech."
That was a quote from John Seigenthaler Sr. on a CNN interview. He is quite upset that false information about him was placed on Wikipedia and was not discovered for some time. Now everyone knows that Wikipedia is not meant to be an authoritative reference. It is an extremely useful source of information due to its vast scope and it provides a way to explore cognitive jumps between seemingly unrelated subjects. It also allows one to quickly and easily explore the aspects of a topic that one is weaker on while ignoring the subjects that might be old hat. One should not use it as a singular source of new information. It can be vulnerable to vandalism.

But Johnny boy goes way overboard when he calls Wikipedia a
"flawed and irresponsible research tool". It is flawed and irresponsible for journalists to use it as a research tool without doing any follow up to verify the information but that is a flaw of what passes for journalism these days not of Wikipedia.

Speaking of flawed and irresponsible research tools, I wonder why John does not have a look at that paper he was the founding editorial director of, USA Today. It seems to have gone down hill recently, I wonder if John cares to comment about how his old ship holds journalistic water?
Recently they published a phony debate (like those "discussions" they have on infomercials pretending to be talk-shows) between an old-time creationist Cal Thomas and Bob Beckel, who is described as "a liberal Democratic strategist". He is actually a straight man for Cal and in the "debate" agrees with Cal on just about everything. Publishing a debate between two people who agree and who are of very little credibility as "strategists" and "columnists" is flawed and irresponsible. If I had been an editorial director of a major publication that let its integrity go down the toilet after I left, I would not be wasting my time criticizing Wikipedia for being vandalized. (Any comments John?)

Maybe the reason no one found the error for so long is because no one looked up his bio on Wikipedia. Maybe no one cares about him. Maybe he's a has been. Just a thought.

2 Comments:

At Wed Dec 14, 11:51:00 AM 2005, Blogger MichaelBains said...

I posted on those two primates' pseudo-debate as well.

Not only was the disingenuity so thick you could cut it with a fish, the ignorance of the "debaters" (where were their fact checkers?) was utterly profound and profoundly telling.

Unfortunately, I think USAToday is a fairly accurate reflection of the USA today. Sadness...

 
At Wed Dec 14, 05:42:00 PM 2005, Blogger Apesnake said...

I think someone should open a jounalism school where people who want to work in the media could go to learn valuable skills. Funny that those don't exist already.

 

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