One of the most frustrating things I have had to deal with while working on rbutr, is being neck deep in the sort of articles which attract rebuttals. A lot of the time they are junk websites, fringe blogs, or just crazy theories, but way too often, they are articles on ‘respectable’ websites. Media outlets, with millions of dollars of revenue each year, hundreds or thousands of staff members, and the expectation that they will bring us ‘the news’.
Some of the articles which I see regularly rebutted are clearly the clash between ideologies (or between ideology and reality). But sometimes, like the one I just identified and added to rbutr, is just…disappointing. Sometimes, the articles being rebutted, are simply baseless. They are made up. There is no actual journalism going on, no investigation, no evidence of reality, they are just entertaining. So they get printed.
So I am talking about the headline which I am sure many of you have seen by now, because it of course went viral. So perfectly crafted it was that it just had to be shared;
Math Teacher Punishes Students With ‘Game of Thrones’ Spoilers
And it may be true. A teacher, somewhere might be doing that. It may have even happened to the very person who claimed it happened to him, but in reality, all we know for sure is that ‘someone’ posted anonymously on a chat board that their teacher did it to them. And from that one simple comment, on one small anonymous chat board, we end up with this whole raft of newspapers running with the story without the smallest amount of thought.
Why bother verifying the story, when it sounds so good!?!?
Many of the articles do reference the anonymous post where the information came from, but none seem to take any time to point out that it is anonymous and therefore highly probably that it isn’t even completely true.
Anyway, you can read the full rebuttal in our entry below. I am just further disappointed in the state of journalism, once again. As if hearing Michael Marshall talk about the abuses of Press Releases in the media hadn’t already destroyed my opinion enough..