Friday, January 27, 2006

Do Your Own Work

Well there's not much going on so I don't have much to blog about. We took Magaidh to a local park tonight for her walk. It was pretty nice because we had the park all to ourselves since it was after dark.

So I've been paying attention to the whole controversy of James Frey's book A Million Little Pieces. I have to say Ryan and I discussed it and we see this as just another example of media outlets not doing all their own work.

First mistake: a big publishing house like Doubleday should have been able to fact-check any book they publish. And yes, I realize this is a memoir and those are books based on people's memories, so inherently, they probably shouldn't be held up to the same level of scrutiny as an autobiography, but they also should not be out and out lies.

Second mistake: Oprah's people copy their homework from the publisher. I'll explain. On her show yesterday, Oprah said that she was contacted by someone (I don't remember who she said) 8 days after she announced Pieces as her book pick and they informed her that there were inaccuracies. What did she do? Her people called the publishing company and talked to several people within the publishing company, including their legal department, and the publishing company assured Harpo that everything checked out. So they copied the publisher's work. Why didn't Oprah's people take the extra time to contact the jail that Frey was suppose to have been held in themselves? Why didn't they even try to go directly to the source for the facts?

It seems that this has become a big problem for many media sources. Somewhere along the way they have forgotten how to go directly to the root of a source to get the facts straight. Take the recent heart wrenching tragedy in WV. Every single news source reported the wrong information. Each one of them noting a different news source as their source of information. Imagine if any of them had actually had the brains to not depend on someone else's work. Imagine how things would have been different if they had actually done their job and gone directly to the mining company to check the correct number of survivors and fatalities. You have to think that at least some of them would have got the correct information.

And the insane thing is that none of these media sources are willing to own up to their mistakes. And none of them are even really reporting on the news that they all screwed up. Do they think that the public at large is stupid enough not to realize how badly they are doing their jobs? Well obviously they do and I hope that we, the public, can prove them wrong.


At 10:26 PM, Blogger Ryan said...

Apparently getting it right is "too expensive," so they just go on the honor system:

I wish I'd know that! I could've written myself a heckuva memoir!!!


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