The ridiculous rumors regarding Francisco Liriano got me thinking yesterday about the immediacy with which "news" is spread these days and just how fine the line is between speculation and true news. I was actually planning on writing about it today, but then I came across this excellent piece over at the TwinsTarget blog and, well, I thought it said exactly what I wanted to say so I'll defer to Mr. Kneeland.
I feel that the need for journalistic integrity is higher now than it ever has been. It used to be that the only way news was spread was via a newspaper or magazine, where articles would go through numerous editing and fact-checking sessions before they were seen by the public. Now someone can post a short message on Twitter and it is immediately seen by 1000's of people, many of whom retweet it to the 1000's they know. Granted, yesterday's rumor was actually spread in a 2nd hand sort of way (one guy tweets about what another guy said on a radio show), but still, that needed a little more explanation than 140 characters could provide. Turns out, the rumor doesn't hold much water...whew.
On the flip side, the discerning eye of the reader also needs to be more critical than ever. Because "news" gets to our faces so quickly, and often without a whole lot of explanation behind it, it falls upon us to try and separate truth from fiction. That's not as easy as it sounds and I'm just as guilty as everyone else who freaked out yesterday. Andrew Kneeland's piece is a good one, check it out (I think he has another installment upcoming too), it's good food for thought.