Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Internet Peril: Repeating the Errors of Others

The problem with being the resident aw-shucks-ma'am, I'm just the "hometown editor" is that there's no one to edit your copy. If Mat Delaney at The Journal of Lake Placid could scare up an actual copy editor, that discerning eye might help him spell Warren Buffett's name correctly, point out that via the miracles of syntax he has Buffett interviewing himself, and the website he copied with only the barest of attribution has key facts wrong.

The interview Delaney is trying to reference is dated July 7, not July 8 as his source says. Delaney's source seems to be a Website for Dennis Tubbergen, who also misspells Buffett's name. Tubbergen attributes his misdated information to an interview by Alex Crippen. The interview was actually conducted by Becky Quick on CNBC's Squawk Box

Then there's the odd juxtaposition of Tubbergen's suggestion that his personal suggestion to reduce the nation's deficit is a spending reduction that is the "approximate size of the Social Security program and Medicare program combined." But Delaney, after quoting Tubbergen on the details, says he wants lawmakers to "keep their fingers away from Social Security and Medicare." (We'll overlook that the approximation the financial wizard tosses out is low by $4 billion, according to data maintained by the Congressional Budget Office).

Old Word Wolf isn't sure where Mat Delaney dug up Dennis Tubbergen, who claims in a grammatically challenged and weasel-worded "about page" that he lives in West, Michigan, a town we cannot find on a map. Tubbergen claims to be the CEO of a "wealth transfer company," and lists wife and daughters among his professional credentials, but makes no mention of college study, academic degrees, or nationally recognized certificates such as C.P.A. or similar.

OWW brings up all this only to suggest that whenever the "hometown editor" has to write and edit his own copy, occasional subject-object errors go with the territory, but not checking sources and skipping the job of verifying the basics are simply derelictions of duty. (OWW sincerely hopes the nice newsman isn't taking actual financial advice from a guy who can't get the who, what, where, when and how-much parts of a 150-word story on his professional Website right).

Back in the mainsheet ...

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