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Tuesday, October 18, 2005


It’s wonderful. Most people still don’t understand that reading a newspaper article is like getting the story from the 20th person in line in the game of Telegraph: a complete distortion. But, thanks to the Internet, we can now see the “story” and the original source. And it’s not flattering to the so-called “newsmen.”

Ryan Chittum and Joe Hagan wrote this story for the Wall Street Journal on the suicide of Joel Henry Hinrichs at the University of Oklahoma. Few people sucide by bomb, fewer do it near a packed football stadium and very few do it after first attempting to buy ammonium nitrate – the active ingredient in the Oklahoma City bombing carried out by one Mr. McVey.

But this story is not really about the bomb or the bomber. It’s really a stick to beat the internet about being full of conspiracy theories.

What’s wonderful about the internet is that some of the people quoted in the sorey are bloggers who can tell us what they really said.

Jason Smith had this reaction:
Now if they could only learn to quote accurately, that would even be better. The interview came off as them trying to excuse their own lack of coverage of an obvious public interest and newsworthy event. The questions I was asked were mostly leading and mostly geared towards helping them prove their theory that those of us following this story are casting wild speculations at best and outright lies at worse.

Michelle Malkin has this:

Last week, I received a media inquiry from Wall Street Journal media reporter Joe Hagan. He wanted to talk about blogs and the University of Oklahoma bomber story. Although I was dismayed to learn the only coverage of the incident from
the august WSJ would be a story about the coverage, rather than an original investigative report, I thought it would be better than nothing.

I was wrong: Nothing would have been better.

Several times, Hagan asked leading questions about the blogosphere's "conspiracy theories" regarding Joel Hinrichs. Several times, I stated clearly that I did not subscribe to any conspiracy theories--and that most of the blogs covering the story didn't either. I explained that unlike the MSM, most of the
blogs I have linked to were simply trying to find out the truth about the strange incident--and that meant keeping open the possibility that Hinrichs meant to commit murder and that he may have been swayed by extremist Islamic views.

Malkin again:

I spoke with Chittum (an OU graduate, as it turns out) by phone this morning. He blamed inclusion of the word "apparent" on his editors and maintained that the reports were unequivocally false--according to his sources, whom he would not name. I asked Chittum whether it would have been more accurate to write "None of these claims are true, according to Journal sources." He said it was not necessary to add such a qualifier because he believed his sources.

So there!

It’s mind boggling. The MSM still asks us to take their pronouncements on faith. “We can’t reveal our sources.”


We don’t live in that world any more Gunga Dan.

1 comment:

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