In which I circuitously try to make a case for a remedial media comprehension program in our public schools
The context is McAfee, but ultimate irrelevant. I wrote this to a person on a message board kvetching about news organizations reporting too quickly:
Here's how it works if you're a news org: You either get to be on time and possibly wrong, or late and definitely right. Both are viable strategies, but neither is ethically better than another, especially in a business predicated by audience numbers.
Also, you don't know which organizations talked to Belizean officials or not. If they called them and didn't get a clear statement, they may have decided to lean on Gizmodo's reporting instead of writing “We called them and they didn't answer” or “We called them and they wouldn't give us a clear answer.” Maybe that's not the way you'd run a news organization, but then it's awfully easy to say what you would or wouldn't do when you don't run a business with shitty margins and constant backseat drivers that tell you what you should or shouldn't be covering, when or when not to cover it, and how and how not to write it all up.
I'll tell you this: I called my sources in Belize today before I wrote my piece, which was more or less a rewrite of what Jeff Wise had at Gizmodo. I got muddled information, but nothing that made me think the Gizmodo report was off base. I wrote what I had. My outlet chose not to run it. I think it was a mistake, but at least it was a decision.
But it was a process, not a simple moral choice, and I give about as much pause for the average person who complains about how a particular news story should be handled as I do to people who try to make hay out of the idea that evolution is just a theory. News is a nuanced media, and it galls me that so many people who claim to be clever refuse to accept that there's a lot more happening in the mix than might be easy to condense into a weary, internet sigh. If we waited to triple-vet every piece of information that crosses the transom, we'd miss a lot of stories that are important to know in the right now. Your job as a reader is to understand which outlets operate under which process; if you can't handle adding a little bit of your own wisdom and assessment to your interpretation of the news, then at least have the courtesy to accept that your refusal to loof;alskf;alksfh;alksjf;alskfj
Fuck, I don't care. Whatever, we all suck. I hope you find your one true outlet. They'll appreciate your subscription.