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  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by copake_ham View Post

    It's not like this is the mid-20th C. and we're all supposed to agree that "Pravda" really means "Truth"!
    Comrade George, you take life too seriously. I hear that gives you bowel cancer. If life was meant to be taken seriously we wouldn't have giraffes and platypuses.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terence View Post
    Comrade George, you take life too seriously. I hear that gives you bowel cancer. If life was meant to be taken seriously we wouldn't have giraffes and platypuses.
    "Nor the green alligators and long-necked geese;
    The humpdied back camels and the chimpanzees,
    The cats and rats and elephants;
    Just as sure as you're born....

    But the Lord didn't make a _________."

  3. #13

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    Dear Terence,

    Fair comment, and I hasten to add that my previous post was not entirely devoid of facetiousness.

    But if journalists learned from their previous mistakes they'd probably start working in another field anyway...

    Cheers,

    Roger
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  4. #14

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    Which would also explain why I went into construction management after years on the design side.

  5. #15

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    Although it is human to exaggerate and embellish, I question the O'Donnell excuse of dementia as leading to the claims on the photographs. This guy set up a website and sold (or put up for sale, no one has indicated he actually made any sales) copies of the appropriated photographs. Doesn't sound so demented to me. Sounds like a scam.

    Re: the media checking facts. I'm well aware of the shortcomings. I worked for a daily newspaper for over 15 years and witnessed some nincompoop behavior on the part of reporters and editors. Still, the best editors demanded the best from their reporters and the best reporters were the ones who obsessed over accuracy in their articles. You expect more from news organizations like the New York Times and CBS News. But, the sad fact is, maybe it's passe to expect accuracy from today's news media which is more and more concentrated on celebrity, controversy and supposition.

    You will notice the word "truth" never enters into this. As some might remember, it is a word I refuse to use. Everyone is free to seek his own truth but everyone should be presented with facts on which to build their truth. I'm kind of fed up to here with ideologues whose concept of the truth is however they can spin, twist and confuse the facts.

  6. #16

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    Dear Lee,

    Surely you would agree, though, that there are some 'facts' that vary according to your source, i.e. Tibet is a free country/Tibet is a part of China. Because of space constraints, you don't always have the luxury of being able to explain the conflicting viewpoints. For that matter, the source of your 'facts' may mislead you in good faith, as a result of parochialism: my wife was taught as a little girl that "A pint's a pound, the world around." Flat nonsense, of course.

    I totally agree with you that trying to get it right is essential, and such modest success as I have enjoyed is largely down to having done so; but I also know that I have made mistakes, sometimes quite big ones. If I tried to check every single fact in every single thing I write, I'd be even poorer than I am today: I have to assume that my memory is normally correct, and to choose which sources to rely on when I want to check something (which is why I have both a Britannica and an Americana, as well as an OED).

    Also, if I can't verify something, I'll often say, 'but I was unable to verify this' or 'but I was unable to find the source'.

    Finally, I have no problem with people twisting the facts. When I was at school, the VIth form common room subscribed, at my suggestion, to both the North Vietnam Peace News and the British Union of Fascists newsletter: constant reminders that when reading anything, you have to consider its source.

    Cheers,

    Roger
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  7. #17

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    "Surely you would agree, though, that there are some 'facts' that vary according to your source...."

    Variations in reported facts means someone is interpreting "truth". Of course, that can be interpreted as my spin on the subject.

    Just as it is human to embellish, it is human to make mistakes. Back to the O'Donnell fiasco--it seems almost everyone got lazy and made mistakes. Kudos to the reporter on The Digital Journalist for clearing up the muddy information.

    And, yes, people do twist the facts. It's troubling to me but it's business as usual these days and it's certainly nothing new. O'Donnell certainly appears to have gotten away with twisting the facts, even in death.

  8. #18

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    Dear Lee,

    I can only read your post as suggesting that there is always an absolute truth, which clearly is not the case. Very often, it's 'it depends what you mean by...' Often, too, it's 'who cares?'

    Even in the case of deciding who took a picture, there may be no discoverable answer. Often, my wife and I cannot remember which of us shot a particular picture. I'm not saying that is the case here -- clearly, it isn't -- but most of the time in our particular case it's 'who cares?'

    If we can't remember, no-one can challenge us if we choose to write one name or the other on the balance of probability. Now imagine that one of us says one thing, and another at another time, and we are both accurately reported. Which of us is 'twisting the truth'? Or which reporter?

    Personally, I am a lot more worried by the idea of ANYONE accepting ANYTHING they read (or see on television, or hear on the wireless) without considering its source and likely bias. In other words, I'd rather read two honestly biased sources than one which pretended absolute objectivity.

    My wife and I have talked about this at length over the years (she's American, and we've been together 26 years) and her belief is that many Americans are given an unrealistic idea (or indeed ideal) of objectivity at school. Also, I have a law degree, and I am absolutely certain that the most honest and diligent witness, under oath, may swear they saw one thing; another, under the same conditions, who saw the same thing, will report something else; and both may be mistaken.

    Cheers,

    Roger
    Free Photography Information on My Website
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