The Wreck of the Calgary Herald
Journalists who take what they read on Twitter and run with it instead of doing their jobs and checking the facts, you’d better take care if I find you’ve been creeping ’round my back stairs.
To make a long story short, the word around the Internet today was that Canadian icon Gordon Lightfoot had died. Like many Canadians, I first heard about it through a post on Twitter. I was obviously initially skeptical, but when my good friend Sofi posted a link to a since-removed piece in the Calgary Herald “confirming” the rumour, I felt like it was at least worth distributing for the sake of enabling people to evaluate it for themselves.
Thankfully, the whole thing was a hoax. If you trust the Herald – and frankly, I don’t know why you would after this whole debacle – fellow Canadian rock legend Ronnie Hawkins is to blame for the whole thing. Although I don’t see how that can possibly be the case, since it’s a journalist’s job not to take whatever you happen to hear from a third party source for granted.
At any rate, I wouldn’t mind seeing “Taking Care of Business” become a euphemism for incompetent Canadian journalism. Indeed, I’d like to see this whole situation become a global lesson for journalists who still believe that Twitter should be taken for granted as a reliable source, not to mention all the everyday people who need to acknowledge that a lot of journalists are phoning it in these days.
In any event, the general lesson is that you can’t believe everything you hear – especially if you hear it from the Calgary Herald, apparently.
“I haven’t had so much airplay for weeks,” the basically awesome Gordon Lightfoot said when reached for comment, by the way.
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