Saturday, November 03, 2012

Can You Take Fact Checking Too Far? | Techdirt:

But, as an avid TAL listener, in the past few weeks, I've noticed that they do seem to be going overboard with the fact checking. In episode 476 from a few weeks ago, there's a story of a teenager bitten by a shark and the aftermath (it's a somewhat horrifying story). And yet, in the middle of the story, there's a break where they admit that they could not confirm she was actually bitten by a shark -- and some think it was a different sea creature responsible. No one denies that she was attacked and bitten and came close to dying, in part through a series of mishaps. But they feel the need to fact check the possibility that it wasn't a shark. I'm not sure what that adds to the story (other than immediately making me think of Mike Daisey).

Then, in the very next episode, from last weekend, there's the hilarious story from comedian Molly Shannon, which I'd first heard on Marc Maron's (insanely brilliant) podcast, WTF, about how, as a kid, she and a friend -- with the active encouragement of Molly's father -- successfully stowed away on a flight from Cleveland to NYC. But at the very end... Glass chimes in to say that TAL fact checkers reached out to Molly's friend -- who had no idea Molly had told the story publicly, but who confirmed all the details in the story. Once again, all I could think of was... "Mike Daisey strikes again." The story is hilarious, whether or not it's true, and I wonder if it really needs fact checking.