Thursday, August 09, 2007

Freaking reporters

Here's my personal list of problems I frequently find in bad reporting, sorted in order from most to least harmful:
  1. Intentional mis-representation of facts ( lying )
  2. Negligent mis-representation of major facts ( negligence )
  3. Exposing personal bias irrelevant to a story
  4. Exposing personal bias relevant to a story
  5. Poor grammar, spelling, format, or organization ( elementary mistakes )
From time to time, I may mention a story that demonstrates one or more of these flaws. The reason I bring this up now is a relatively minor flaw in the grand scheme of things: 

I just read a story from CNN about some tourists who were injured by the wave caused by a collapsing chunk of ice from a glacier near the North Pole. The story moves along quite well, providing the facts regarding the incident and other related useful information, until the last paragraph. The final paragraph consists of one sentence, which begins with some useful information, and descends into a political viewpoint of the author that provides at most very little further value to the story. It's a case of either #3 or #4 from the list above, rearing it's ugly little head.

I'll try to point out more of these types of problems in the future - at the very least, it should provide some small measure of entertainment. At the best, who knows? Maybe it will inspire a reporter to provide better reporting in the future. 

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