Friday, October 30, 2009
This article examines how quickly erroneous information can spread across the internet. It concerns a misquote of Supreme Court Justice Scalia by a local newspaper. The misquote was swiftly picked up and cross-posted in several blogs without checking. All but one of the bloggers assumed the newspaper was right. It took one who went back to check the actual videotaped remarks of the Justice to find out that the so-called quote wasn't correct at all. The article points out that bloggers assumed the burden of accuracy was on the original source. It isn't and shouldn't be. Fortunately for the Justice, the error was caught in time before it spread too widely. What happens to those for whom errors are not caught? It is a lesson to PR practitioners to be vigilant and to react quickly when mistakes start circulating online. It should be a lesson for bloggers as well, but it probably won't be.
I think that it is very important for bloggers or newspaper journalists to re-check their quotes from their source before printing it. It is a violation of law and ethics to misprint something. It can hurt the person that is being qouted also. I think that in this case it should have been stopped earlier on. I think that it speaks something to the bloggers if only one person was able to catch the mistake. This is were we, as journalists, need to come in and understand that it is important to get everything correct on the first time. It can sometimes spread very quickly to where you are not able to fix your mistakes.