Patterico on the Inside

Patrick Frey, better known as Patterico, has an “Outside the Tent” feature in today’s Los Angeles Times.

The article, titled “The Correct Way to Fix Mistakes,” cites several blatant errors and their buried corrections and offers this suggestion:

The Times can prove that it takes the journalistic value of fairness seriously by placing noteworthy corrections in a more prominent space. A substantive correction should be at least as conspicuous as the original article in which the error appeared. A correction of a substantial error in a front-page article should run on Page 1. The policy would make it more likely readers would actually see corrections of significant errors. It would give reporters and editors greater incentive to get stories right. And it would encourage more vigorous scrutiny for political bias, latent or overt.

Agreed. He also suggests that there should be more ideological diversity in the newsroom, which would help, but in reality there will be no salvation of the MSM until they begin to take their jobs as reporters — not advocates — seriously. More importantly, it would help if reporters knew something about the subject they cover; journalism schools teach students to write catchy headlines and flowing paragraphs, but there is absolutely no concern for a reporter’s knowledge base. For a reporter to be considered an expert, they need only have covered an issue for a length of time. Journalists are rarely trained in any substantive field, which leads to the type of ignorant news reporting we now witness.

As I’ve always said, the main problem isn’t one of bias, it’s one of ignorance.

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Leopold Stotch
About Leopold Stotch
“Dr. Leopold Stotch” was the pseudonym of political science professor then at a major research university inside the beltway. He has a PhD in International Relations. He contributed 165 pieces to OTB between November 2004 and February 2006.


  1. Boyd says:

    Well, not knowing that many journalists, I may have not learned the hard lessons you have. But I would have used the word “ignorance” instead of “stupidity.”

    But that’s just me.

  2. Boyd: thanks for the comment. Ignorance is in fact what I meant, and I altered the original.

  3. bryan says:

    Yes, ignorance is very evident in this post.