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How Bad Journalism Spreads

Yesterday, we wrote extensively about the New York Daily News article promising that anachist vandals would douse themselves in gunpowder to wreck havoc at the RNC. We talked about how the article was, in additon to all its other faults, a piece of truly terrible journalism: only one named source (the police chief); no url given for the mysterious "anarchist" website; no chance for anarchists or any activists to respond, etc.

Now there's further evidence about the impact that these types of stories can have, and how even bad journalism doesn't stop a story from running all over the media gamut. A google news search for "anarchists republican convention" reveals (as of noon 7/13) half a dozen stories that repeat nearly verbatim the unfounded allegations in the News report. Three radio / local tv stations (WBEX AM, KTOK, and WXXA) jumped in, It didn't take Fox News long to follow suit.

The Daily News then extended the shelf-life of its own story by writing about Bloomberg's response to it, as well as editorializing.

Also, according to Blogdex.net, which tracks "the diffusion of information through the blogosphere," the News article is currently the sixth most talked about item on the net.

July 13, 2004 | Permalink


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Posted by: gytuk | Sep 13, 2006 3:27:20 AM

Yeah its pretty rediculous, i often find myself flaming article authors for bad journalism. The quality of reporting on the internet is for the most part astonishly poor. It seems that any half-baked clueless website can start reproducing crap stories and calling it news.

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