Oct 19, 2009

The Denton rule*

Last week, Gawker's Nick Denton told his writers to post quickly and fix any falsehoods with updates. So I wonder what Denton would say about Reuters' decision to write a story based on a bogus memo that said the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had essentially reversed itself on a pending climate change bill?

*Update: Dana Milbank writes that the Yes Men perpetrated the memo hoax and even held a mock press conference yesterday that, to the surprise of the journalists sitting among the actors pretending to be journalists in the audience, was rudely interrupted by a member of the real U.S. Chamber of Commerce and then broke down into a bizarre argument about legitimacy.

So how can a reporter separate truth from fiction? From Milbank:

There were clues, of course, such as the name of the Chamber "spokeswoman" listed in the original news release: Erica Avidus. Reporters and bloggers later figured out that "avidus" comes from a Latin word meaning greedy.

But in an instant news culture, who has time to check out such things?

No comments: