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Factchecked, rechecked and checked again?

July 25, 2010

In the wake of Sherrod-gate, the conflicting reports of the “stabbing” incident at Comic-Con have me wondering what the hell is going on with journalists. Lately news organizations have been desperately trying to distinguish themselves from the hack at the center of the Sherrod controversy with less than successful results. I’m not sure how reporters initially got wind of the Comic-con catfight (Twitter, maybe) but in any case they definitely ran with a poorly researched, poorly sourced story, which spread like a virus all over the interwebs!

I happened upon the story while was still being sensationally reporting as a “brutal stabbing”, which threatened to shut down Comic-con and some reports (which are gone now) insinuated gang involvement. Fueled by rumor and Twitter-speculation, the story ambled along, complete with dubious “facts” – victim was scratched near the eye, rather than in the eye. Here’s a screencap of one version of the story:

In this version of events, the two men involved were described as “friends”, which apparently they were not. At least the headline more accurately reflects the nature of the altercation. I find the reporting debacle troubling to say the least. It showcases the irresponsible manner organizations handle reporting news, which favors immediacy rather than accuracy.

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