Monday, June 16, 2014

That corrections policy

"The Free Press corrects all errors of fact," we're told every day on page 2A. OK, let's see how long it takes to fix this self-induced error. The disappearance wasn't "in Israel"; it was in the West Bank near Hebron. There's a difference, and it's the sort that the Free Press used to pride itself -- given the local population dynamics and all -- on getting right.

Owing mostly to the current unpleasantness in Iraq, US news culture is in one of those rare periods in which the stuff normally denigrated as "that Mideast trivia" -- say, how the current borders got to be the way they are -- is all of a sudden abnormally salient. That's likely to fade as soon as a new squirrel distracts our little friends at the Fair 'n' Balanced Network, but it's a useful reminder that details matter. We do this journalism stuff, after all, so members of the (potentially) voting public can form opinions that actually reflect their interests. If we can't tell which side of a border something is on, or why that distinction might make a difference in understanding the information that's presented, we really don't have much of a claim on the public dime, do we?

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