Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Say it isn't so, Suzi

It can, apparently, happen to anyone.

A Washington Post blog recently reported -- falsely -- that Sarah Palin planned to become a contributor to the Al Jazeera America network, which has recently purchased Al Gore's failing Current TV. The post was made by Suzi Parker, who is described by Politics Daily like this:

"Suzi Parker is an award-winning journalist and author, focusing extensively on politics, sex and Southern culture.

"She is a regular contributor to The Economist, US News’ Washington Whispers column, and The Christian Science Monitor. Her stories have also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, where she worked as Arkansas’ correspondent for seven years, Alternet.org., Salon.com, Nerve.com, The New York Times Magazine, The New Statesman, Penthouse, The Washington Post, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Memphis Commercial Appeal, The Washingtonian and several other national and international magazines."

So, Suzi Parker is a legitimate journalist, published all over the interwebs and in print. Her scoop about Palin came from the web site Daily Currant, which wrote:
After leaving Fox News, Palin said she was hoping to reach a broader audience with her message. When contacted by phone, Palin said Al Jazeera - with its extensive international network - offered her the best opportunity to broadcast to millions of people.
“As you all know, I’m not a big fan of newspapers, journalists, news anchors and the liberal media in general,” Palin said. “But I met with the folks at Al-JaJizzraa (sic) and they told me they reach millions of devoutly religious people who don’t watch CBS or CNN. That tells me they don’t have a liberal bias.”
Here is how Daily Currant describes itself, on its own web site:
The Daily Currant is an English language online satirical newspaper that covers global politics, business, technology, entertainment, science, health and media. It is accessible from over 190 countries worldwide - now including South Sudan.
Our mission is to ridicule the timid ignorance which obstructs our progress, and promote intelligence - which presses forward.
The site even offers this Q and A:
Q. Are your news stories real?
A. No. Our stories are purely fictional. However they are meant to address real-world issues through satire and often refer and link to real events happening in the world.
And yet ... and yet, Suzi Parker took the news of Palin's imminent move to Al Jazeera seriously, including it as part of her apparently serious attempt to opine on Palin's current circumstances.

I have been pretty hard on people who pass along as fact the garbage often found on the Internet without checking it out first. Perhaps I should lighten up a bit. Suzi Parker is clearly no amateur, yet here she is, publishing a correction on a Washington Post blog because she hadn't bothered to make even a cursory attempt to verify something she found on a web site that is so obviously satirical that one of its headlines today is "Catholic Church Considering Jerry Sandusky as Next Pope."

How did this happen? It's simple. Suzi Parker so dearly wanted to believe the story about Palin that she didn't pursue its veracity. It happens millions of times a day across the information cesspool called the Internet, and experienced journalists are clearly not immune.

Parker has also written a book titled, "Sex in the South: Unbuckling the Bible Belt." Perhaps she should stick to sex.

No comments:

Post a Comment