Saturday, January 2, 2016

Journalistic Integrity

I have been noticing more and more on social media the propensity by which people post "news" that is factually incorrect. Clearly, this is not a new phenomenon - I guess I am just late to the party.

What brought it to my attention was a picture that someone posted comparing the fallen-from-grace former bloated spokesperson for Subway to some other famous person in the news (cannot recall who) who was busted for pot (this is relevant to my point; I'll get to that later*). The picture claimed that Jared Fogle was sentenced to 6 years for underage prostitution while this other fellas was given the same sentence for carrying marijuana.

In the event that you've been living under a rock, Jared Fogle was busted for soliciting an underage prostitute and sentenced to 15+ years in prison and what's notable is that that the judge imposed the maximum PLUS a couple of years.

This picture received a couple of thousand views and alot of likes. There were two glaring errors with the picture. "Fogle" was misspelled as "Fogel" and the sentence was 15 years, not 6 years.

I find this disturbing on many levels, but more than anything else, I find it disturbing that people took this for fact. I also found it disturbing that whoever created the picture was so lazy that they couldn't perform a simple google search to not only get the sentencing term correct, but to spell the guy's last name properly. How much lazier could one be?

Is this a testament to our society's blind consumption of anything that appears to be newsworthy, regardless of the actual facts? Have we finally thrown in the towel after years of being spoon-fed ratings- distorted news by the main stream media? Have we finally accepted the "if it's on the internet, it must be true" meme as truth?

* The "source" of the story was the Cannabis News Network. I could have clearly mentioned this earlier in the blog entry but that would have negated any further discussion, because clearly the Cannabis News Network is a reputable news source. My point would have clearly been better made if the source was an ACTUAL news source, like CNN or MSNBC. At least those two sources has SOME journalistic integrity, even if slanted to the left.

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