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August 15th, 2001

When the Media Don’t Fact Check

Most people expect their mother or uncle to forward along some dopey hoax about people being stuck by AIDS-infected needles in movie seats or somesuch. I’ve even seen policemen forward these warnings insisting that it was true… “I know about this case!” they’d say.

But I’d like to think that the mainstream media would be able to do half a second of fact checking and find these hoaxes. Unfortunately, the media seems to be just as gullible as your less-than-intelligent uncle. This story about the supposed health benefits of breast watching was picked up by a number of newspapers around the world and reported as news.

My favorite example of this practice of poor fact checking came on the G. Gordon Liddy show when the G-Man tried to push his strong pro-gun stance by touting the story about the gun-toting grandma in Australia as the perfect example on why everyone should own a gun for protection. Too bad that after he wasted all that breath, it turned out to be a hoax. I e-mailed him letting him know that he might want to find some actual factual antecdotes to support his stance, but never heard back from him or anyone on his staff.

I don’t think it’s too much to ask that journalists do at least a quick check on one of the many hoax sites on the Internet when they get a story as obviously fake as “10 minutes of staring at a woman’s breasts is equivalent to a 30-minute aerobic workout,” we’d all be a lot better off. The web already gives Uncle George a worldwide audience for his “I swear this is true!” — let’s try to keep radio and TV somewhat immune from these blatent hoaxes. -ram

Posted in Consumer Commentary

FROM: Anon
DATE: Wednesday August 15, 2001 -- 9:48:29AM
This has happened a few times:
I have been in the gym. Working out on a machine that I regularly use. On the same level intensity that I regularly use with my heart beat in its usual range. An attractive woman wearing something tight will begin to stretch and my heart rate goes up 8-10 bpm. And I'm not thinking anything dirty!



FROM: Robert
DATE: Wednesday August 15, 2001 -- 12:41:28PM
Watching the bouncing breasts of a woman exercising is enough excitement to kill me.



FROM: Robert
DATE: Wednesday August 15, 2001 -- 5:22:17PM
Ryan--I hate to steal Rob's fun, but this Ping should be titled "When the Media Don't Fact Check", as "media" is the plural form of "medium". I'm sure you knew that. Maybe I should shut up before someone points out the boners (!) I've pulled at the Ping.



FROM: Rob
DATE: Wednesday August 15, 2001 -- 5:27:57PM
Robert -- I decided to go easy on Ryan today, as I didn't even gripe about how he spelled "blatant". Until now, that is.

And stop pulling boners in public. You'll go blind.



FROM: Robert
DATE: Wednesday August 15, 2001 -- 6:42:10PM
Rob--You and I should take turns being assholes.



FROM: Ryan
DATE: Friday August 17, 2001 -- 2:07:56PM
Y'all can kiss my arse repeatedly.



FROM: Rob
DATE: Friday August 17, 2001 -- 3:02:32PM
At last my dream has come true.



FROM: Robert
DATE: Friday August 17, 2001 -- 6:04:30PM
Ryan--Can I kiss your grits?

BTW, did I ever tell you the lady who said that on "Alice" is from the same small Alabama town my mom is? To add insult to injury, Jim Neighbors Highway runs right through town. (I swear I am making none of this up.)



FROM:
DATE: Saturday January 1, 2005 -- 3:34:06 pm



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