I had so much fun airing one of my pet peeves the other day, I thought I'd give it another go. Today's topic - incomplete journalism.
I alluded to this issue in my previous post. The basis of my ire is that I firmly believe in telling the truth, the WHOLE truth, and nothing but the truth... emphasis on WHOLE truth. Here's a simple example: it is true that it snows in downtown San Francisco. But it's also true that "during the last 150 years there have been only six documented snowfall events with one inch or more measured in that district," and I think the last recorded snowfall was in the 1970s. Were you to stop with the statement that it snows in the City, a reader - especially a non-Californian - might believe it snows there every winter. (Editor's aside: when my husband moved here from the East Coast he worried about driving on the City's steep hills in the winter because he assumed it snowed.)
That's great, LovinBlue, but we know you're proud of living in the Bay Area... can we get back to football already? Oh right, sure....
So the football-related issue I mentioned the other day was that for months we heard about the Final Eight rule, that the final eight teams in the playoffs would not be able to sign an unrestricted free agent until they lost one to another team. The story was featured in all NFL publications and distributed through every media outlet. The problem? Those stories omitted the fact that the restriction would be lifted on July 22. Why didn't we know this sooner? Why couldn't the stories read, "The Final Eight Rule to Impact Teams Until Late July"? Why not just even throw it in there at the end... "Oh, by the way, this remains in effect until July 22"? or even "I think the rule will not be in effect the whole season, but I'm not sure when it will expire - I'll check it out for y'all"??
In the absence of this information, we were free to make up our own truths. I assumed the rule would last until the end of the 2010 season (making me fret about the limited pool from which the Colts could draw in case of a significant injury). Others may have assumed the rule would persist until the playoffs, or until the regular season started, or some random date of their choosing - heck, why not mark Halloween as the date? You get the point. This type of journalism is tantamount to error by omission, and writers should be more responsible in their reporting.