Good thing we have mainstream journalists…

Posted: May 7, 2009 by datechguy in internet/free speech, oddities, tech
Tags: , ,

…otherwise stuff like this might happen:

Shane Fitzgerald, 22, a final-year student studying sociology and economics at University College Dublin, told the newspaper he placed the quote on the website as an experiment when doing research on globalisation.

He quoted Oscar-winning composer Jarre as saying, “One could say my life itself has been one long soundtrack. Music was my life, music brought me to life, and music is how I will be remembered long after I leave this life.

“When I die there will be a final waltz playing in my head, that only I can hear.”

The quote was posted on Wikipedia shortly after Jarre’s death and later appeared in obituaries in major British, Indian and Australian newspapers.

He was rather surprised:

“I didn’t expect it to go that far. I expected it to be in blogs and sites, but on mainstream quality papers? I was very surprised about,” he said.

He said the hoax remained undiscovered for weeks until he emailed the newspapers that had been deceived to tell them that they had published an inaccurate quote.

The Irish Times said that despite some newspapers removing the quote from their websites or carrying a correction and the fact that it had been dropped by Wikipedia, it remained intact on dozens of blogs, websites and newspapers. (emphasis mine)

Via Stop the ACLU. Joe “what would we do without mainstream newspapers” Scarborough must have been shocked but in addition to canard of the superior fact checking and diligence of reporters and newspapers vs bloggers it highlights two important internet points:

#1 Wikapedia is not and should not be a primary source on anything. I will link to it on occasion but remember the Glenn Reynolds rule concerning it.

I’ve had my own problems with them in the past, though short-lived and (to me at least) no very big deal. My sense is that the wiki format works pretty well when issues are uncontroversial, but that it doesn’t handle politics very well.

And if you don’t believe it check out this, this, this, this, this and this. (most via Glenn)

Second and rather important. Remember that web pages are often forgotten. If bad information gets out on net and is corrected at it’s primary source that doesn’t mean that it will ever be corrected in the sites that copyed it. Keep this in mind whenever you read any web site. Even mine.

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