Layers of Oversight

Heard on a local AM radio newscast this morning;

A Deary (Idaho) man charged with aggravated assault and unlawful discharge of a firearm into an inhabited dwelling.

The firearm was described as;

“…a three oh eight caliber shotgun.”

At first I thought maybe it was a combination gun and they just did a clumsy job of describing it, but no.  They just got it wrong.  I wonder how many people had to approve the copy before it aired, and how many other mistakes they’re making regularly that I wouldn’t notice so easily.

It’s like the talk show host I’d never heard of, but ran into briefly the other night.  He sounded pretty good, like he knew what he was saying about relationships and politics, until he started talking about getting electricity from any point in space, from gravity.  HE had the answer, which the oil companies had kept secret for generations!  At that point you have to not only question everything he says, but seriously doubt it.  It might not even be fair to cast doubt on all his human behavioral analysis based on his lack of understanding of physics.  One can be well versed in one subject and ignorant of another, but it’s very hard to take someone seriously again after hearing such an ignorant bit.  We all make mistakes, but wow.  In the case of a news service, with reporters, editors and anchors, it’s a different story.  Those proverbial Layers Of Oversight are supposed to catch these things.


6 thoughts on “Layers of Oversight

  1. Reminds me of a news report I saw once that said how someone had been robbed by a gunman who was armed with a knife.

  2. Bobg; To give them the benefit of the doubt; I am a gunman armed with a knife. I guess the word “also” would make it a little more clear. “Gunman also armed with a knife.”

  3. Most radio news has, at best, one layer of oversight: the guy reading may have gathered and written the story. Or he could have just pulled it off the AP wire. I think most folks would be astonished at how directly their local broadcast news is misreported, with only the originating reporter/photographer ever paying attention to the details before it hits the air.

  4. my pop worked in the local metro area as a paramedic for 12 years +/-. He always said the news never got it right. Not even the basic who/what/where matched the info on his paperwork.

  5. I worked as a Forest Ranger for 30 years and I can’t remember any news story about any event I was involved in that got the facts absolutely correct (PS — I have a journalism degree and have worked for newspapers and magazines).

    I think that this is everyones’ experience — when there is a news story about something that they are knowledgeable of, they find many factual errors. So I always keep it in the back of my mind that since I know that they don’t get the story straight on things I know about, they’re also not getting the story straight when they report on things I don’t know about.

  6. It might not even be fair to cast doubt on all his human behavioral analysis based on his lack of understanding of physics.

    No, that’s perfectly fair. It is normal to be knowledgeable in some areas and ignorant in others. But when someone is so unable to recognize that they’re ignorant in one area, you have to question whether they’re really an expert in anything they claim to be.

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