Yesterday i stumbled on a post on friendfeed[de] (thanks to franz for pointing it out), linking to an article of the Südeutsche Zeitung[de] warning people about risk of false information when getting news through so called “new” or “social media (friendfeed, twitter, blogs and the like). The funny part being that they made a mistake themselves (that they now have corrected).
There is a classical stance by the newspaper, that try to say that only their information can be trusted, everybody else failing to have that “journalist ethic” badly needed to give acurate information. This seems to fail more and more, or maybe, it is just pointed out more and more, and in a clearer way. Another example being a Times online article[en] published recently that was completely wrong. As far as i know it was debunked by Michael Arrington on Techcrunch[en].
What’s the lesson to be learned? Well every source of information can at times (some more often than others) give false information, you have to stay critical before everything you read.
I learned my hard lesson in a similar way recently, i was reading a really good article about the mistreatment of a french journalist by the police on Maitre Eolas’s blog[fr] as he announced, he described by the very detailed how the journalist was treated and then commented on how it was or not the procedure, of what was legal and what was common etc. Very good read, you learned a lot on how everyday justice works in france (it’s not beautiful to say the least). Only a few days later a read the related article in lemonde.fr[fr], and it’s only then that i realised what was hidden behind the whole story: one more try of the gouvernement to scare journalist, to warn them to behave “well” (you know France is a democracy…). What’s the moral, i failed to see the big picture while reading Maitre Eolas’s blog, is he at fault? not at all, he even warned in the begining what he wanted to do. Actually the Le Monde article is much more partial and oppiniated then the blog, but sometimes that’s what ones need in order to get the big picture.
The good thing about blog’s and the likes is that you tend to be much more carefull when you read, i think it may be a blessing for the press, but eventually there claim to give but the truth and all the truth is bound to fail. Sometimes i wish that they simply assume being partial and stop publishing 3 lines article retelling an dpa, afp or reuters news. I don’t want to know what happened, i want to understand what happened.