The Wall Street Journal’s free website, Marketwatch, declared on the front page June 28, 2011 that the price of gold had fallen below $1500 a barrel. The next day an article entitled, “Whose better are fighting credit card fraud?” popped up.
This raises the question: Where are the editors? Things like this didn’t happen in the past century. Today we find not only typos like these cropping up more and more frequently, but factually false claims arising and being discussed as though they had some legitimate news-worthiness.
Why would any TV channel persist in carrying comments by Michele Bachmann that
- John Wayne was born in Waterloo, Iowa
- That the founding fathers fought hard against slavery when many owned slaves
- That the “shot heard ’round the world” was fired in Concord, New Hampshire
- That significant numbers of the members of Congress are anti-American?
These claims reflect an astounding ignorance of the nation Bachmann ostensibly wishes to preside over—unless she is just running another scampaign. In the past century people like Bachmann never ran for president because they could not get any coverage on TV or in the newspapers because of editors.
News in the US, unfortunately, has been converted into entertainment like sports (note the end-zone dancing after a touchdown in football). But I long for the day when news organizations operated like the Washington Post described in All the President’s Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. Nothing was printed in their investigation of Richard Nixon that wasn’t verified by at least one second source and what was printed was edited for spelling, grammar, and accuracy.
Of course, Bernstein’s and Woodward’s investigation ran a little deeper than investigations today: they were investigating what politicians were doing, not just what they were saying.