The best journalism isn’t happening at news organizations anymore

Two stories today got my goat: One from the Wall Street Journal saying Apple has halved its order for iPhone 5 components, indicating a slowing in demand, and one arguing that pubic lice are becoming extinct.

John Gruber, was, of course, quick to call bullshit. And link to others who were also skeptical. Whether it’s true or not remains to be seen, but it’s astonishing how quickly something can pass from an unsourced or anonymously sourced assertion to a meme to established fact. All without any skepticism about ulterior motives.

And then there are the crabs of the not delicious variety. At Skepchick, the charmingly-named bug_girl writes about a story trumpeting the decline of public lice. As she notes, the people behind the press release—salons and beauty products—have a vested interest in the idea that shaving ones pubic hair is a good health move.

So why on earth does it take independent journalists and analysts to root out these not-so-hidden agendas? Taking things at face value is not a tenet of journalism.

 
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