In case you aren’t aware of it, we have now outsourced fact checking. Once upon a time it was the job of the fourth estate to report misbehaving public servants, corporations out to get the little guy, and wayward citizens. Their job was just that: checking their own facts. Now it seems that there is a mysterious bank of machines with people behind them checking what one politician or another has said. “Will get back to you later on that,” I have heard more than once these past couple of weeks. What’s left for the reporter except opining one way or another?
I just read an article in a local paper (not mine) where it was obvious that the reporter didn’t bother with facts. My guess is that he asked the interviewee his opinion and chose to write that information as fact. That is not fact. That is fiction, my department. If this is the way reporters are going, perhaps there is a job in it for me.
Novelists as the new reporters. Part 1
We can start out a piece zeroing in on a murder scene, add a few wry comments from bystanders, then paint the picture the way we see it with a touch of the weather, the general mood of the town, the internal dialogue of the policeman who is only thinking about his hot date later on…after all it’s our story. Perhaps by the end we can point a finger and nab the perp. All nice and tidy, facts be damned.
Move over journalists, the novelists are all looking for a payday. And our own hot dates.
What facts can I check for you?