Evan Osnos posts a translation of an essay by Qian Gang about his experience being fact-checked by the New Yorker, a notoriously rigorous process, and his thoughts about truth and reporting in the age of the Internet:
Professor Zhan Jiang, who has studied U.S. media, told me that there are fewer and fewer media organizations in the U.S. that conduct such procedures. No wonder I felt like I was in the the middle of an ancient ritual while hearing the fact checking call from The New Yorker. Mr. Pulitzer’s motto “Accuracy! Accuracy! Accuracy!” seems to be a vanishing mist at a time when media face fierce competition. Yes, the press that is willing to spend a lot of human capital and money on investigative reporting and fact-checking is dwindling.
Speedy reporting seems to be more important than accuracy now. According to the Internet expert Hu Yong, the way news used to be generated was “filter and then publish.” Now it’s switching to “publish and then filter.” What does this lead to? He quoted from Western experts: “In the twenty-first century, when everyone is a journalist, what we are facing is a jungle of news, with good and bad co-existing.”