Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New First Rule of Journalism?

Accuracy is not as important as perception.

That, according to Karen Hunter in her attacks on the Associates Press this Sunday after they transcribed the President's speech using his chosen dialect and grammatical devices instead of just reprinting the speech as written. 

"I teach a journalism class, and I tell my students to fix people's grammar, because you don't want them to sound ignorant," she said. "For them to do that, it's code, and I don't like it."  You'll be surprised to learn that she's not alone in her methodology.  I for one would prefer uniform treatment of speeches and quotes, aiming for the factual instead of the fanciful translation as some beat writer "fixes" the statements.

This all reminds me of an old Daily Show promo, back when it was hosted by Craig Kilborn and tremendously funnier.  The tag line of the promo was "When news breaks, we fix it."

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