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The Fact-Checker’s Bible

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The shortest known interval of time in the universe is that between when I saw this book reviewed in this morning’s Wall Street Journal and my heading to my computer to buy it at amazon (only $10.40!).

I mean, I am passionate about being accurate in what I write and say.

I will go to extreme lengths to do so.

That the author of this new book, Sarah Harrison Smith, was once a fact checker at the very persnickety and fussy New Yorker, and now is head fact checker at the New York Times Magazine, is plenty good enough bona fides for moi.

Ooh, I am so excited about this book’s imminent arrival.

In the book, she discusses how to judge the accuracy of various sources and where to find reliable facts.

I’m am so swooning with delight.

She points out that all errors erode a reader’s or viewer’s trust.

She writes, “When that happens, the presumption of good intentions and integrity of the author – particularly the investigative reporter – will begin to disintegrate.”

I may have mentioned in the past that few things delight me more than finding an error in an old bookofjoe post and then going back and correcting it.

I realize that anyone who’s this excited about this book is a defining example of a nerd.

Hey, I’m down wit dat.

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  • Jonah J.

    Seeing a notorious liar like Jeffrey Toobin on the cover praising the book made me skeptical.
    If someone knew nothing about the publication the author worked for, the New Yorker or the others she discussed, like the NYT, the book would seem to be informative.

    In reality the book itself is ultimately a fraud. It would be like a book on safety published by the former manager of the Chernobyl Power plant.

    If you want to get quickly to the heart of the deception(and get a good laugh); skip to the back of the book and read the parts about fact checking for TV news programs.

    If you have made a serious effort to study and research the truth, the facts about current events and contemporary political debate; then you know that the New Yorker constantly lies and deceives its readers. It is little more that a trade publication for the New York left.

    To put it another way.; A lawyer pleads with a Judge to be lenient with his client who has just been convicted of a double homicide, on the basis that his client is an orphan.

    The authors idea of fact checking is to confirm the fact, by proper research into government records, that indeed both of the defendants parents are dead.

    The fact that the reason they are dead is that the defendant, their son, murdered them is conveniently overlooked.