19 March 2011

Goldacre uncovers more lousy journalism

The Debunker of Disingenuous Drivel, the Nemesis of Newspaper Nonsense, the Scourge of Pseudoscientific Silliness, Ben ‘Quacksbane’ Goldacre, has asked a good question: why don’t journalists link to primary sources?

Goldacre’s article lays out three examples of journalistic jabber that didn’t bother to link to (or even understand) their information sources. Result: totally whacky reporting that crosses the border into Bullshitistan.

Hat tip to a commenter on Goldacre’s blog, Simon, who mentioned Julian ‘WikiLeaks’ Assange’s op-ed in The Australian. Assange advocated for what he called ‘scientific journalism’, which is basically what Goldacre’s arguing for: journalists linking to primary sources so that anyone can verify the information for themselves.

Media consumers/producers would be wise to keep in mind Goldacre’s Law:

If you don’t link to primary sources, I just don’t trust you.


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