If That’s Not Right, What Else Isn’t?

I’ve talked before about the things that show up on procedural TV shows (I’m looking at you CSI) that simply aren’t possible in the real world. Think about the number of times you’ve seen a crime drama take a crappy cell phone picture, for example, and using “technology” get a crystal clear image of a license plate 200 feet behind the subject of the photo, for example? It drives me up the wall when attorneys expect those of us who work with electronic evidence to just magically be able to do something similar.

I’ve always wondered how much of what we see on television in areas that I’m not as familiar with, is completely wrong as well.

Worse yet, as someone who’s worked in technology for awhile, it’s somewhat shocking how many incorrect “facts” show up in actual news articles about technology. Articles that complain about missing features, that aren’t missing, or reviews that seem very biased written by people with a clear agenda, etc.

The other day I was listening to a hockey game and one of the announcers started talking about the schedule having “back to back visits by teams from British Columbia”, which seemed odd to me, as Vancouver is the only BC team in the NHL that I know of. Of course, I checked the team’s schedule and saw the next two games were against those great BC outposts of Edmonton and Calgary. ;-)

The point is not to poke fun at hockey announcers and technology writers, however. As I thought more about this mistake, I started to think about how many American’s probably do think those cities are in BC, or just don’t have any idea. I’ve been a hockey fan since childhood, and following the game means I probably know more about Canada than most Americans. Given that, I knew the statement being made was incorrect. But, how many areas of knowledge can I be expert enough in to make sure I’m getting “facts” from journalists? For most of us, when we hear economic, health, geopolitical, or scientific “news” reports, we don’t have the expertise to know an inaccuracy when we hear it, or the resources to fact-check the reports. The best we can hope is that someone who does know differently will point out the inaccuracies, or the misleading uses of statistics, etc.

But what if they can’t reach most of us? Are you looking for the corrections, or just taking what your favorite news sources tells you at face value?

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