Thursday, May 2, 2013

Reliable Source, indeed

On my commute in this morning, I was listening to an interview with Jason Collins, the NBA player who recently became the first active/pro/major sport athlete to come out as a homosexual.  He's an interesting guy, and it's an interesting story, but one I never thought of as potential blog fodder...until I saw this story about how Howard Kurtz had been let go from the Daily Beast for his inaccurate commentary on the story.

In a piece that was first edited, then retracted on the Daily Beast, Kurtz wrote a grumpy column accusing Collins of disingenuously failing to mention that he had been engaged to a woman he was in an 8 year relationship with.  The problem was that Collins actually had mentioned this, in both the article and in subsequent interviews. It was even on the first page of the article and everything (paragraph 8 if you're curious).  

What makes this noteworthy (for me anyway) is that Kurtz is the host of a show on CNN called "Reliable Sources", and is apparently the author of several books that criticize the media.  Seems like with a gig like that you'd double check things.

Anyway, I thought this was interesting because the Collins article is one of the most talked about and widely read articles in pop culture this week, and a fairly famous journalist completely mischaracterized it.  It served as a reminder to me about how little to trust we should put in journalists, and how you should always seek out primary sources.  I mean, if you can get a widely read human interest piece wrong, how can you trust that someone is going to take the time to sort through the technical science/math language of most research papers?

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