Friday, June 10, 2005

Exhibit A Against the Press

So FishbowlDC runs a funny MSNBC photo. A former journalist says he's "started to hear references to it being fake. Is it fake? I have no idea. Nor does he. But, from this he concludes:

Then I thought, what a coincidence: This is EXACTLY why newspapers are still more reliable in the end than blogs: Newspapers have editors to check to make sure photos like this are indeed authentic or fake.

But, he also has no idea whether FishbowlDC did or didn't verify its legitimacy before posting it. Maybe he did?

He emails:
I'm wondering if either site ran a correction or anything to let your readers know that it's authenticity is in question or doubt.

But who's doubting other than this guy? Again, I have no idea if the picture is real or fake.

But, anyway, this brings us to the more important part of the story. From the New York Times, Feb. 2004:

And on Thursday, a new photograph of the senator and the actress began circulating via e-mail. Unlike the image Mr. Sampley bought, which shows Mr. Kerry seated several rows behind Ms. Fonda, this picture - its origins are unclear - shows them side by side, Ms. Fonda behind a microphone and Mr. Kerry, holding a notebook, to her right.

Very tricksy of the Times this was, saying "its origins are unclear." However, a quick google search would've brought them here. So, its origins were clear just not to the reporter or editors who didn't spent the 5 seconds on the internets to determine what they were..

The point here is not that newspapers shouldn't be allowed to ever screw up. The point is that journalists should stop talking about the Platonic ideal of their profession, rather than what actually goes on day to day.