Lazy journalists

In my RSS reader I just found an AFP piece written by journalist Glenn Chapman about the fact that YouTube is blocked in China. I quickly scanned it and noticed that they are quoting me in the article. A bit strange as I am in San Francisco at the moment and nobody interviewed me about this. I did not really know about the YouTube block actually, I just saw a couple of messages on Twitter about it.

The article from the Sydney Morning Herald quotes a piece from my blog from October 18, 2007 (when YouTube was also not available for a few days) and says I posted this yesterday to explain why YouTube would be blocked. Because it’s a syndicated article it will likely appear in a lot of other newspapers tomorrow (or today, depending in which time zone you are in). The content is total bullshit. There is no National Congress going on, nor did YouTube just launch its Chinese version. Check your facts before you post an article like this Mr. Chapman. Just Googling and copy/pasting is only what bloggers do, right?

Update: I received an email from the AFP (but not from Mr. Chapman) saying that they read my blog post and corrected the story. The new version sent out across the wires now reads at the top “ATTENTION – CORRECTION: REMOVES quotes from blogger Marc van der Chijs in paras 15-19 which were mistakenly taken from comments made in a blog dated 2007. Here is a corrected repetition.” However, the piece still appears uncorrected in many media, a quick search just now still led to tens of articles where I am misquoted. Not only in English (such as the SCMP or The Times), but also in French at Les Echos and even in a Bolivian publication!

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  1. Thanks Ryan, wrote the piece in two minutes and forgot the link. Edited it in already.

  2. did you contact the AFP, newspaper or author to set thing right?

  3. @David I did not contact AFP myself, once a piece is out on the web it’s out and you can’t take it back anyway. That’s why I decided to put it on my blog. But other readers of my blog actually contacted AFP about this, which may have led to the correction.

  4. Left a couple of comments pointing out the obvious failure to actually check out the quote on the Times website, we’ll see if they publish them. This is just pure laziness and chips away yet again at my faith in the accuracy of the media.

  5. I didn’t contact AFP. They contacted me two hours after I wrote about this on my blog. I also wrote about the Guardian, and some of their misinformation that dates back to August 2008. It’s been 7 months since I first contacted them about their error, and they’ve yet to make it right. Good luck with the Times.