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Dan Jacob

The IDIA Group

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Should newspapers be truth vigilantes?

Arthur Brisbane, Public Editor for the New York Times wrote an interesting article OpEd today (January 12, 2012) asking "Should the New York Times Be a Truth Vigilante?"

The article can be found here: http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/12/should-the-times-be-a-truth-vigilante/

In a time where people are being bombarded with information, what role (if any) should newspapers play in correcting un-informed, egregiously inaccurate statements? What implications would this have?

To quote Brisbane:

"...[People] look to The [New York] Times to set the record straight. They worry less about reporters imposing their judgment on what is false and what is true.
Is that the prevailing view? And if so, how can The Times do this in a way that is objective and fair? Is it possible to be objective and fair when the reporter is choosing to correct one fact over another? Are there other problems that The Times would face that I haven’t mentioned here?"

Interested to hear your thoughts on this one...

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  • Jan 23 2012: : I think it all depends on the readers who read newspapers regularly.
    Even though I don't know much about New York Times(since I read Korean newspapers more), the things that have to be improved and changed are distributive throughout all of the media.

    Personally,I prefer to read several kinds of newspapers as long as I can read, and compare those articles one another, and then organize the facts I recognize and the common position toward the same affair.

    Because depends on the newspapers I choose to read, the reporter's take on how they perceived and analyzed the affair are more or less, or sometimes totally, different.

    I suppose New York Times might not be able to be totally truth vigilantes,
    So are other newspapers.

    But only you can be a "self-vigilantes(so to speak)" only if you try hard not to be biased by one single article.
    Simple put, rather than just blaming problems that are found in one single kind of newspapers, why don't you be more active to find out the truth and try to be more suspicious of the single story that are found in an article.

    It's all up to you, if you ask me.

    (Sorry for suggesting irrelevant opinion,btw.)
    • Jan 24 2012: And I'm sorry for my use of idiom in the previous comment.
      It's interesting how our opinions differ on the usefulness of the excercise. Perhaps it's because of our methodologies?
      You choose to read newspapers: I had to be bribed with a wage.You choose which newspapers to read: mine were randomly assigned. You choose which articles to read: I had to read every word or face the sack.
      We've hardly read a word and already our opinions have been biased by choice and coercion.
      Maybe we could control those and many other variables with randomisation?
      Do we read a newspaper today or not? Toss a coin. Which newspaper? Roll a dice. Which article? Roll a 6, we read it. Info roulette.
      Nice aphorism btw. Like it a lot.

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