Media Mythbusters!

I was fortunate enough several months ago to get in on the ground floor of something big.  In the wake of the Jamil Hussein and Fauxtography scandals, some bloggers got together to create a wiki the sole focus of which is exposing media myths.  And so Media Mythbusters was born.  The wiki, which is being officially launched today, describes its purpose as follows:

In order to make even the most mundane of everyday decisions it is necessary to have good information. The public depends on television, radio and print media to deliver reliable and accurate information. For the most part, reporters and editors do their jobs and the result is an informed public. In some instances, however, the information relayed to the public is neither reliable nor accurate. Far too often, inaccurate information is reported and repeated until it achieves a certain myth status. The goal of this site is to debunk myths that take hold as a result of inaccurate or irresponsible media reports.

Truth Through Scrutiny — When inaccurate information is reported in the news media, especially when it is reported on the wire services and gets repeated worldwide, it is difficult to “take back” the initial report and correct the record. With the rise of new media such as talk radio and blogs, traditional media has come under increased scrutiny and some stories that in past generations might have been left to stand, have been exposed as false. Those instances, which are often relegated to small print at the back of the newspaper, will be collected here.

The wiki is still in its infant stage, since wikis are collaborative and cumulative projects that start small, and then constantly grow and change.  Be sure to check it out, though. I think you’ll find interesting what’s already there (I had a small hand in developing what already exists), and you may have some very good ideas about what should be there.

One Response

  1. What a wonderful idea! I’ve bookmarked it, will visit often, and will alert my friends. A site like this has been much-needed for a long time. A great big thank you and congratulations to you and your colleagues.

    As the site develops, I hope it will have the capacity to deal with myths at multiple levels. There are myths, and then there are mega-myths. The reports from “Jamil Hussein”, for example, are myths which, combined with other myths, yield the mega-myth of civil war in Iraq. The mega-myth of anthropogenic global warming is another good example, based as it is on such individual myths as the famed “hockey stick”, which turned out to be the result of errors in statistical analysis.

    There are so many myths out there. It reminds me of the story of a monk who fell into a wine vat and prayed, “O Lord, make my mouth equal to my opportunity.” May your keyboards be equal to your opportunity!

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