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The Longest Now

Stupid News Tricks
Wednesday July 27th 2005, 11:43 pm
Filed under: indescribable

There are some stories that are just too silly to take
seriously.  You often run across them in the news and in popular
books.  And yet they are not jokes; standard news outlets and
publishers — if not the best, at
least internationally-known names — publish them and stand by
them.  The canonical story format is: vague allegations, alarming
hyperbole, unsourced quotes, and unlikely statements presented without comment as fact. 
Sometimes the subject is political, sometimes corporate, sometimes
When chickadees attack!” human interest.  In each case it is fun
to guess why the stories are being propagated. 

The question for news reliability is, what does this say about how much
news accuracy or relevance matters to readers?  Does anyone really
to have reliable news?  What kinds of guarantees do we have
from even the best articles?  Are there particular classes of news
articles that can be as random and fictitious as you like without
damaging the societal web?  Are there other types of news which
should be handled by only extremely reliable organizations?

A tip o’ the keys to Saadi for the pointer to this recent beauty: 

Bin Laden (spelled any number of ways) is out to kill… thousands of
American coke-heads.  With poisoned cocaine.  [Sky News]  [Fox News
Oh, by the way, this was three years ago and it’s a slow news
week.  We had a hot tip on this one.  Did we remember a
gratuitous 9/11 reference?  Good.

Stupid News Tricks …

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