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"How could The New Yorker’s fact-checking department fail catch all this? How could an editor see the detail in Gladwell’s descriptions and not ask for backup? There are only two plausible answers here. The first is this: Gladwell may have said that he was describing well-documented events and that the quotes and details had “escaped their source.” Indeed, as reported by the Columbia Journalism Review’s Edirin Oputu, the fact-checking director at The New Yorker, Peter Canby, has used this exact defense in the past.

This past April, a New Yorker article by Elizabeth Kolbert quoted the following from chemist F. Sherwood Rowland, without attribution:
“What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?”

The quote, Oputu noted, had originally appeared in a 1986 New Yorker piece by Paul Brodeur. “The New Yorker,” she wrote, “had effectively plagiarized itself.” In response, Canby said that the quote was “so widely used without attribution that it has effectively escaped its authorship.”

But that defense simply doesn’t pass the sniff test here. Almost none of the quotes – not those from Tesler or Jobs, or those from the Troy-Greenfield railroad promoters, or those of the participants in the Greensboro sit-ins – have reached escape velocity and broken free from the need for attribution. It’s almost impossible to find any of them before they appeared in Gladwell’s articles. And it’s not just the quotes that haven’t escaped their original, obscure sources – the vast majority of the details used by Gladwell haven’t, either.

So is this on The New Yorker’s factcheckers? As former New Yorker factchecker Jon Swan wrote in reply to the Rowland incident, “surely the checker is not alone at fault for this breach of journalistic ethics. Editor and author are involved in the process. Did the editor ask for verification? Did the author know where the quote had originated?” In this case, probably not. As we’ve seen demonstrated by Fareed Zakaria, as well as the initial protection of both Lehrer and BuzzFeed’s “deeply original” Benny Johnson, sometimes an outlet’s superstar gets a little more leeway."

[See also: ]
malcolmgladwell  ethics  journalism  newyorker  2014  plagiarism  jonahlehrer  attribution 
december 2014 by robertogreco
The ultimate judge and jury of journalistic responsibility: We, the readers | Literally Psyched, Scientific American Blog Network
And just as you wouldn’t sign up for a consult “just to see what all the fuss about that awful surgeon is all about,” so too you can make the conscious choice to side-step a journalist who has betrayed all fundamental tenets of journalism. Don’t gawk. Don’t review. Don’t buy it just to see. Simply ignore.
journalism  jonahlehrer 
june 2013 by jflanagan
Drama, journalism and science | Evolving Thoughts
"Every time a journalist interviews a journalist, you are being offered theatre, not reportage."
jonahlehrer  from twitter_favs
february 2013 by newsmary
In praise of the big old mess | The Loom | Discover Magazine
When you find yourself captivated by someone talking to you about science in a way that makes you feel like everything’s wonderfully clear and simple (and conforms to your own way of looking at the world), turn away and go look for the big old mess.
jonahlehrer  science  research  writing  journalism  statistics 
october 2012 by jflanagan
Is Self-Knowledge Overrated? : The New Yorker
the robotic quality of the web - seeing this piece Instapaper liked by 3 people on Oct 19 2012 and the shock of arrival at the page
jonahlehrer  thenewyorker  blogging 
october 2012 by HalSF
Your brain on pseudoscience: the rise of popular neurobollocks
The “neuroscience” shelves in bookshops are groaning. But are the works of authors such as Malcolm Gladwell and Jonah Lehrer just self-help books dressed up in a lab coat?
newstatesman  stevenpoole  neuroscience  selfhelp  malcolmgladwell  jonahlehrer  pseudoscience 
september 2012 by bojo
Your brain on pseudoscience: the rise of popular neurobollocks
"The idea that a neurological explanation could exhaust the meaning of experience was already being mocked as “medical materialism” by… William James a century ago…

Indeed, despite their technical paraphernalia of neurotransmitters and anterior temporal gyruses, modern pop brain books are offering a spiritual topography…

None of the foregoing should be taken to imply that fMRI and other brain-investigation techniques are useless: there is beautiful and amazing science in how they work and what well-designed experiments can teach us. [example]…

In this light, one might humbly venture a preliminary diagnosis of the pop brain hacks’ chronic intellectual error. It is that they misleadingly assume we always know how to interpret such “hidden” information, and that it is always more reliably meaningful than what lies in plain view. The hucksters of neuroscientism are the conspiracy theorists of the human animal, the 9/11 Truthers of the life of the mind."
self-improvement  self-help  neuroflâneurship  neuroprocrastination  neurogastronomy  neuromarketing  meurotheology  neuromagic  neuropolitics  christopherchabris  elainefox  samharris  popscience  neurobabble  neurobollocks  neurotrash  neuro  neurofillintheblank  chrismooney  johnarden  paulfletcher  williamjames  artmarkman  jonathanhaidt  robertkurzban  fMRI  descartes  jonahlehrer  malcolmgladwell  2012  stevenpoole  brain  science  neuroscience 
september 2012 by robertogreco

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