Some links and issues I have come across lately.
Those who read this and my other blog know that I am deeply opposed to internet censorship. Recently, Wikileaks put up a leaked list supposed to be the list being used in Australian trials of what will be a mandatory blacklist of URLs. First the minister said it wasn't the list, then he said it had some similarities, and now he says it's substantially the right list but there have been edits, but that's not my point. Now, in Germany, a Wikileaks host has been raided at the behest of a German minister. It's even possible that the Australian minister for Controlling Adults, Stephen Conroy, instigated this. All my fears are coming to pass. I live now in Orwell's vision.
Nick Davies at The Guardian reports that a survey of news stories by some researchers in Cardiff found that fact checking in newspaper items occurred in, wait for it, only 20%of stories at best (they found evidence of fact checking in 12%, and another 8% were possibly checked). This means that 80% of what you read in the papers is made up by reporters in some manner or another. I wonder why the media are dying?
Doctoral student Tim Dean, at UNSW (the sister university to mine) has a blog entry up at Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies blog. I disagree with him on some aspects, but it's an interesting read.
Now take your figures for journalist veracity, and consider the sort of people and policies journalists tend to favor.
To put it another way, when a reporter supports a proposal 80% of the time it's a good idea to oppose it. :)
For a long time, I was involved in sending press releases about science and technology for the institute I worked for. In one case out of three years, they got it right, mostly. How? They printed the press release verbatim, with a top and tail paragraph, under the journalist's byline. I didn't mind, but the new pars were wrong..
The media started to take themselves too seriously after the rise of gonzo journalism. It wasn't great before that, but it went rapidly downhill afterwards. The medium is not the message.