01 December 2011

The Guardian's poor popy/caste show

Oops, sorry, it's "copy/paste", of course. But well, what is allowed to the bull... anyway, the fates guided me to a piece titled Israeli government press adviser quits by Roy Greenslade, a professor of journalism at City University, who also was editor of the Daily Mirror from 1990-91. First of all, for the sake of full disclosure: it says at the bottom of the article: "Source: Ha'aretz". Indeed the source is an Haaretz' article Israel's government press adviser quits over eroding journalistic freedom.

Then some strange things start to happen. There is not a single original sentence in prof. Greenslade's piece - everything there is a copy/paste with slight changes here and there. One would expect from a blogger (the e-space occupied by the author is defined as blog) to use information from media or any other source for a learned (or otherwise) commentary or, at least, a snarky one-liner. Not so.

And prof. Greenslade didn't even try to check the facts, being busy with that slavish copy/pasting. To start with, Eva Berger is not a "government press adviser", as is wrongly stated in Haaretz headline - but Haaretz at least corrects this impression in the first sentence: Eva Berger is "a member of the Government Press Office's advisory council", which is a totally different job.

And most funny, striving to make his piece at least somewhat different from the original, prof. Greenslade modified some statements in a way that makes them factually wrong. Compare this from Haaretz:

The GPO issues press passes and determines who is eligible to receive them.
with this from prof. Greenslade:
The council issues press passes and thereby determines who is eligible to receive them.
Well, the council is an advisory team for GPO that doesn't issue any passes, but one has to make one's text different, at least a bit.

A blogger, of course, isn't required by law to be 100% precise, unless we are talking a libel situation, which is not the case here. But a professor of journalism doing such a poor job? Skewing (granted, unwittingly) information, without sharing with us even a tiny morsel of his personal wisdom and presenting the botched result as a blog post?

Whatever. There are reasons to be concerned about the freedom of press here indeed, and GPO (in my opinion) is a rotten gang that should be dispersed to four corners of the world. But this attempt to poke a stick into Israeli government's eye is a model of failure.

Because the stick is too cheap.


Francis Sedgemore said...

"But a professor of journalism doing such a poor job?..."

Maybe it's because, as a "blogger", he wasn't paid for the piece. Journalists, myself included, will quite happily churn out crap if the publisher demands the copy gratis.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Nah, even for a blogger, which, of course, will be considered a bottom feeder by a pro, this is a poor show.

Dick Stanley said...

Reads to me like Greenslade was in a hurry, so he did the minimum.

Lots of bloggers, including yourself, do a better job than lots of pros. As a recovering journalist of 35 years, I also agree with Francis: Editor/publishers get what they pay for (or don't pay for). And many journalists research and write more than one piece a day, so some work gets the professionalism, some gets the laziness. Laziness also being a journalistic trait.

Dick Stanley said...

The stick is flimsy, for sure.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Too bad, then.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Definitely ;-)