The phone rings. It’s the magazine, they’re running a story on me and they need to make sure they have their facts straight. They rerun the interview (although much shorter), but this time it’s sort of a test — I have to guess what the author of the piece thought was the answer.

Q: What topics are you interested in?
A: Well, computer science and, uh, law.
Q: What kind of law?
A: Well, right now I’m particularly interested in constitutiional law.
A: Uh, uh, oh, and intellectual property law.

After all this, they still don’t trust me (why should they?) and ask for people they can call to back up my assertions.

It is a simplistic method of factchecking, but one apparently appropriate for our simplistic method of journalism. Neither reporter nor factchecker need look at reality; all that is important is what people say reality is.

Oh, and what it looks like in the magazine. The photo shoot is tomorrow.

posted July 12, 2004 09:13 AM (Personal) (15 comments) #


Why Ralph Runs
What is going on at the Supreme Court?
Four Myths About Politics
Fahrenheit 9/11 Transcript: The Saudi Flights
Stupid Criticisms of Fahrenheit 9/11
Fact Check
Web Development Restarts
Press Clipping
Hackers and Painters: How to Think Like a Computer Millionaire
Who would bin Laden vote for?
Wolf Blitzer Distorts


What would you rather have happen?

posted by Cyrus J. Farivar at July 12, 2004 10:10 AM #

Look at it this way: Do they lose more (readers, revenue, ads, whatever) if

a) They’re factually wrong?


b) They look bad?

[Note a) DOES NOT imply b)]

“all that is important is what people say reality is”

Declan McCullagh is a case-study for demonstrating that …

posted by Seth Finkelstein at July 12, 2004 10:21 AM #

What would you rather have happen?

I’m not complaining. I just thought it was interesting and worth documenting for people who don’t get to experience it.

posted by Aaron Swartz at July 12, 2004 10:53 AM #

I should note that the photo shoot isn’t literally tomorrow. It happened last week (the fact check was the week before that). I’m just reporting on it tomorrow.

posted by Aaron Swartz at July 12, 2004 11:54 PM #

Michael Moore does distort the truth. He edits in a way that can proove whatever point he wants to make. When interviewed by Bill O’Riley, his one request was that his interview be aired in-full without editing. This is because he knows the power of taking things out of context. Open your eyes, and find the truth for yourself.

posted by Hollie at October 6, 2004 02:56 PM #

you bitch ass mother fucker i’m gonna come to your house and eat all the food in your fridge and then i’m gonna fuck your mother. you fuckng ass licking, cockbiting, donkey fucking, bitch asss, mother fucker!

posted by Assreamer at October 7, 2004 08:27 AM #

yur some old ass pice of shit sitting in yur chair bitching about how everythigs not right but your too lazy to get off of your fat ass and do anything about it you bitch ass mother fucking cockbiter. Sincerly I FUCKEd your mom

posted by Big john at October 7, 2004 08:30 AM #

Bill Oreilly is a racist asshole. You dont know shit, about fuck. May you Burn in hell you rotten motha fucka. Republicans are the best at distorting the facts. All they do is smear people that speak out. Wake Up! and stop being a dumbass.

posted by che at October 7, 2004 08:36 AM #

I know this bitch ass mother fucker who sits next to me every day in second period he is a mother fucking pussy that is gonna get fucked. i hate all you mother fuckers especially RYAN B. Dog yo FUCK YOUR MOTHER FICKING CORY NASS SITE BITCHES BLIGH MOTER FUCKER!

posted by Seabass at October 7, 2004 08:38 AM #

Aaron Swartz is a fucking bitch ass cunt i fucking hate you if i met you in real life i would slit your throat with a razor blade and lick the blood from your wound then i’d shove my big * in your neck hole and skull fuck you bitch!

posted by Biggie Smallz at October 7, 2004 08:40 AM #

South buffalo bitch

posted by Lindsey Shelton at October 8, 2004 08:15 AM #

I think ‘Biggie Smallz’ is headed for suicide

posted by rwh77 at October 8, 2004 08:54 AM #

Hollie, open YOUR eyes. The FACTS are the FACTS- Every fact in F. 9/11 is a fact. The facts of the movie are not edited in any way. As for editing your own movie to reflect your own opinion, what the hell is wrong with that?

posted by rwh77 at October 8, 2004 08:59 AM #

chill winston , get a beer, not a heartattack

posted by random stoner 111 at November 8, 2004 03:25 PM #

haha you think that you can get rid of be by deleting my post? Yur funny about ass funny as beating the shit out of an elderly man with a baseball bat. I’ll kick your fucking ass so hard you be eating through a straw for the rest of your life? Are you fucking american bitch or are you some mother fucker who came here on a bananna boat who sucks the shit out of americas tit and fucks the rest of us over. I’ll kick your lilly ass bitch!

posted by Mother Fucker at November 16, 2004 08:28 AM #

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