Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Publishers: we can't afford to fact-check

Slashdot discusses the Wall Street Journal's reporting on the vanishing of fact-checking in publishing, following the Oprah-James Frey controversy. Apparently publishers don't make enough money to check facts and the publisher of Frey's book was lauded for "taking one for the team" following Oprah's tongue-lashing.

This all makes criticisms of Wikipedia, which survives on donations, rather amusing in their ferocity when the so-called professionals aren't doing it and the printed word is much harder to amend once released. This is not to say Wikipedia shouldn't get it right and keep doing so, merely that relying on the word of Doubleday as a primary reference source doesn't seem safe either.

The Minneapolis-St Paul StarTribune reminds us of their 2003 reporting of questions about Frey's book which makes the publisher's defence rather less tenable.

The verdict from one Slashdot user:
"Money has a strong influence on the weak minded."
--Oprah-Wan Kenobi.
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