Just a quickie: Media doesn’t research? Naaawww…

I couldn’t pass up the chance to get this little tid-bit out there:  Fake Quote Hoax.  It seems that student at Dublin University was able to post a fake quote on Wikipedia and attribute it to a recently deceased musician.  The student’s poetic quote was very quickly picked up by several media outlets and used to intro or conclude numerous news articles honoring Maurice Jarre (the French composer) after his death March 28.

The bit I really can’t help but bring to light here within the frame of health and fat and “stuff everyone just knows” about the connection between the two is this quote:

“I was really shocked at the results from the experiment,” Fitzgerald, 22, said Monday in an interview a week after one newspaper at fault, The Guardian of Britain, became the first to admit its obituarist lifted material straight from Wikipedia.

“I am 100 percent convinced that if I hadn’t come forward, that quote would have gone down in history as something Maurice Jarre said, instead of something I made up,” he said. “It would have become another example where, once anything is printed enough times in the media without challenge, it becomes fact.

Just let that soak in for a moment; particularly the part I emphasized: “once anything is printed enough times in the media without challenge, it becomes fact.”

Now watch any article about the relationship between obesity and health to see if you can feel that same sort of blatant un-challenged “Fact” spouting without wondering where their primary sources are? And no, I don’t think a press release from a drug company invested in making diet pills which is reporting their take on ambiguous-at-best obesity studies count as “proof”. Look where information is coming from and form your own mental relationship with its veracity.

A few of the folks leaving negative comments at various online shops selling Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby’s book “Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere” (See on the right to purchase!) have been so enraged by the idea that a fat person could love themselves AS THEY ARE that they can’t help post about how deluded folks must be to think they could possibly not be naturally or diet-induced thin AND still be healthy. yet I dare folks who claim that Harding and Kirby are passing mis-information to actually read some of the sources that THEY actually list and reference.  Now try to find that same sort of primary material back-up for any of the plethora of articles extolling the virtues of Calories In Calories Out or LifeStyle Changes for Weightloss. After all, it is only fair to turn the same critical eye EVERYWHERE; not just to those corners of the internet you don’t agree with. Don’t let this phrase “once anything is printed enough times in the media without challenge, it becomes fact” actually continue to “prove” true!

Just some food for thought.

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5 thoughts on “Just a quickie: Media doesn’t research? Naaawww…

  1. It’s sad how true that can be even in research. PI’s plan an experiment not curious about the results 9 times out of 10 but assuming they know what they should get and if they don’t get it then you change the experiment to get the data you want.

    It’s funny how if you publish an article or book that says the same thing a million other people have it’ll be wildly accepted but if you try to publish something fresh and new it will be rejected.

  2. I cannot believe that reporters are using Wikipedia as fact.

    I’ve only written for underground magazines and blogs, and even I factcheck more thoroughly than that.

    Fun fact: Once, while drunk, I went into Wikipedia and slipped in a bit about a politician. Nothing huge, but something along the lines of “So and so had a part speaking in the meeting, which proved once and for all that he is a douchebag.”

    Didn’t get changed for months.

    Not to mention the Myhtbusters article that keeps getting changed to “One of the members is secretly a walrus.”

  3. I’ve got to say. I stumbled upon your blog and I am glad I did. This blog is addicting. I love your stories and your take on things. I want to put you on my blogroll if that is OK with you. Thank you for the great blog.

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