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December 8, 2004


We fact-check The Observer and The Guardian so you don't have to +

England's The Observer ran a sloppy, surprisingly uninformative piece on the Gawker family of blogs the other day. (The story appears on the website of the Guardian and the Observer.) Not to quibble -- especially since I usually hate stuff like this -- but by the time I read the fourth obvious error/misstatement in the article, I thought someone should point out its many mistakes:

  • Quote: "I don't think he is doing it to make money," says editor-in-chief of online magazine Slate, Jason Weisberg. The editor-in-chief of Slate is Jacob Weisberg, not Jason Weisberg.
  • Quote: In October 2004, Denton launched a raft of new sites aimed at the lad market opened up by US Maxim, including Jalopnik (cars), Kinja (games) and Screenhead (strange internet stuff). Kinja is a blog-aggregation site, not a video game site. It beta-launched in April, 2004, not October. It is still in beta. Gawker's videogame site is Kotaku.
  • Quote: Or, as the New York Times put it: "If an agrophobic Dorothy Parker edited US Weekly from a laptop in her apartment, it might read something like the daily dish on Gawker.com." Jeez, they can't even cut-and-paste properly. Agrophobia? What's that? Fear of farming? More likely they meant to quote the Times as saying, "Agoraphobic."
  • Quote: Other favourite targets include the multi-millionaire teenage sisters the Olsons, one of whom is struggling with an addiction to cocaine. Addiction to cocaine? Maybe that sort of conjecture passes for fact at irresponsible sites like this one and Gawker, but I think it's premature to report so matter-of-factly that Mary-Kate's problem was cocaine (not an eating disorder). Additionally, the twins' last name is Olsen, not Olson. (Star, in defending the allegations, reasoned that since they haven't been sued yet, it must be true.)
  • Quote: Gawker traffic increased to 300,000 when it was the first to show a picture of B-list actress Tara Reid after she suffered a 'wardrobe malfunction' and exposed a nipple at a red-carpet event. Gawker can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think other sites had the pictures of Tara first. Gawker's original post on the topic links to two other sites (1, 2 [nsfw]), which seem to have had the pics first. In fact, I think Gawker just linked to the pictures and never actually posted the explicit ones itself.

The article contains a few quotes that gain irony in this context:

  • Quoting Denton: "But [Gawker is] standard-issue bitchy, gossipy, un-fact-checked British tabloid journalism. It's easy. This is the biggest market on the planet -- and they have crap media."
  • "New York media guru and author of internet-boom novel Turn of the Century Kurt Andersen has also been on the receiving end of a [G]awker posting and believes that sometimes Gawker's standards of accuracy leave something to be desired."


[story via fimoculous; concept via the Unabomber.]

Update: Gawker's Denton writes in to say:

...you missed the biggest mistake of all. Jessica, the writer profiled, is Coen, not Cohen.

And Jessica herself says:

Aside from also misspelling Jennifer Aniston's name, they misspelled MY last name a bazillion times. And I spelled it for them, in person. Oy. I can take it, but can Jennifer?

categories: Media
posted by adm at 2:10 AM | #

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