Monday, February 28, 2011
Should our local paper use a fact checker?
I'll start off playing devil's advocate by assuming the response from the Victoria Advocate's commenter “I like the freedom to express my view without fear of being questioned." Then there is the old standard “that’s just a left or right wing outfit" for those that take their own opinion as gospel. I wouldn’t want the moderator or fact checker to hinder the flow of the debate but more of a “no harm no foul” approach. I don’t think we’re learning very much from the “free for all” system but it’s in line with other newspapers on line forums. I just want ours to be unique…Too much to ask?
I'm sure the Advocate cannot afford to pay someone to vet every response for accuracy. I'm guessing I'm looking for an objective referee. Perhaps we could have an option button on our blogs(please monitor) or even an alternative site as a test site? The City of Victoria uses a website to quell most of the rumors, but I don't know how satisfying or successful they are. A lot of the arguments stem from a difference of ideology where a fact checker would be rendered useless.....Religion, politics, and abortion fall into that category.
It's been said "“A lie can make it half way around the world before the truth has time to put its boots on.” I may be wrong or naive or, both, but I don't think posters intentionally put out false information. I know one poster that wrote several blogs that were way out of the mainstream, but he believed everything he posted.
There are some posters that rely on personal observation for just about everything. One example is the argument over the cost of illegal immigration. I would like to know the dollar amount, county by county and state by state in a detailed summation. A local poster wrote a letter to the editor the other day about not believing that Texas ranked 47th in the nation in graduation turnout. He blamed the large number of illegal's residing in Texas. I don't know how he got his information. He blamed illegals because Texas ranks dead last in its residents having Health Insurance. If I ever thought I could submit a blog about illegal immigration in Texas (truths & myths) without it turning into an immigrant bashing thread; I would look up the information before posting but everyone would take it with a grain of salt.
The last blog I wrote was about an interview between Andrea Mitchell and Donald Rumsfeld got off on the wrong foot, and I should've put an immediate stop to it. I don't think posters would have attacked me if I kept it on the subject but three posters thought I had a Bush hating-antiwar agenda. I even got a lecture from Beakus saying that I shouldn’t write blogs that bashed republicans 100% of the time and that I should be more like Jared. He went onto to suggest that I write about a recent jihad attack that was averted. I didn't delete them but my two tries at saying that the blog was about the interview went unnoticed, so I probably should have ignored their comments because the attacks kept coming…..The life of a blogger; not all peaches and cream.
Whatever happened to the alternative Advocate site where real names would be a requirement?