Thursday, June 01, 2006

The New Fact Checking

Has anyone else noticed an increase in completely false information passing as fact? For example, in Doug Brinkley's new book, The Great Deluge, I flipped to the index to see what he said about the two places where I experienced Katrina. Of my neighborhood in New Orleans, he says "all of Bywater was under at least five feet of water." Actually, nearly all of the area was spared. Hattiesburg, according to his book, is 100 miles from the coast. In reality it is almost half as much. Both of these mistakes could have been avoided by looking very briefly at a map.

The new issue of Bomb has a photo of the exploded propane warehouse which is down the street from me at Clouet and Chartres. It is described as being a "Poland Avenue warehouse." Poland Avenue is about half a mile away, and runs in the opposite direction.

And then there is this: increasingly, when my book appearances are listed in newspapers, the book is described as being about the animals I rescued from 9/11 and Katrina. Although both events are in the book and play an important role, the animals I rescue are not from these events (with one exception). And the jacket copy and press releases make this clear. So how is it possible that everyone is getting it wrong? Maybe they simply google for previous listings and repeat the error made a few months ago in another town. But it irks me. And I'm sure there are some people who might buy the book and wonder why those sections don't match what they've been told.

2 comments:

janie said...

Sad as it is, it seems that many gloss over the facts to tie everything up in a neat little sound bite, It irks me too.

Sara said...

I actually think this is the way it's always been; we only know it about, though, when we have have first-hand knowledge of what's being written about. I think it's safe to assume the same degree of wrong-ness about everything we read.