Saturday, April 23, 2005

Keeping It Real

A serious blogger learns very quickly to be careful with information.

Credibility is our currency, the way we survive in the ever-burgeoning blogosphere. Our hard-earned credibility is also the credential we offer to our readers in contrast to MSM's agenda journalism. So if we compromise our accuracy, we risk sacrificing the reader's trust that we've worked so hard to build.

There have been two recent stories that made me very grateful for both Google and my own skepticism. The first story was the photo of the Marines with their heads bowed in prayer. According to the story, the ACLU was planning to sue because the U.S. Marines are federal employees praying on federal land. When I researched the story, I found that it was an "e-legend" with fictitious names assigned the ACLU representative and the Marine commander.

The most recent story was the Denzel Washington visit to Fisher House at Brooks Army Medical Center. According to the legend, Denzel wrote a check for the full amount of a new facility. Here's what the Fisher House Foundation reports as the real story:

Officials from the Fisher House Foundation want the public to know the Academy Award-winning actor is a generous donor to their efforts. But an e-mail forward which has him single-handedly building new facilities for them is nothing more than an urban legend.
“He has given us one of the most substantial donations we have ever received,” foundation spokesman James Weiskopf said, declining to give a specific amount. “But it’s not enough to build a new Fisher House, and that was never his plan.”...Foundation officials say they’re thrilled with the actor’s generosity, but they don’t want the e-mail rumor to exaggerate and spoil the story.

One fact is impossible for bloggers to exaggerate: one bad post can stop your traffic. Be careful out there in cyberspace. Keep your blogs real.