David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Facts Are Lazy and Facts Are Late*

 July 31, 2013Facts Are Lazy and Facts Are Late*

It's the littlest thing that can set me off.  Today it is a rather innocuous posting on FaceBook about a subject that frankly tickles me:  the victory by my long-suffering Pittsburgh Pirates over the St. Louis Cardinals that propelled them into first place. 

Whoever is the FB administrator for "We Love the Game of Baseball"  last night posted an "Action Shot" (as he or she called it) of Pirate Andrew McCutcheon scoring with the posting, "The Ole Miss Rebel Alex Presley delivers a rbi single in the bottom of the 11th, that scores Andrew McCutchen." (There is more to the posting but this has the salient point.)  Knowing that Presley drove in Russell Martin and that McCutcheon scored the other run in the first inning, I responded/posted with a simple correction of the facts.

Not only did the administator not post my comment, he or she didn't fix the error.  And in going back this morning to look, I noted that the picture has Cardinals' catcher, Yadier Molina, at the plate when McCutcheon scored, even though Molina DIDN'T even play in that game. So much for "action shot."  And this was posted just minutes after the game ended, so there is no way it could have been a picture from the second game, when Molina did catch and McCutcheon did score.

So, what pisses me off more: the complete audacity to post a picture not from the game; or the unwillingness to change the basic facts of the play?  Maybe both.  The second still sticks in my craw more.  Within minutes of the game ending, one could find the details on ESPN.com or Foxnews.com or any number of Pittsburgh or St. Louis news outlets.  I know the administrator is trying to cover baseball for all 30 major league cities, but how hard is it to fact check.

Leave it to the always enjoyable, if not occasionally offensive, Cracked.com to post two items yesterday that justify my disgust.  First, "5 Outrageous Lies Companies Are Legally Allowed To Tell You," certainly justifies "We Love The Game of Baseball's" use of the older photograph in the guise of appearing as an action shot from the actual game.  I mean, if Coke can get away with "No consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking that  Vitaminwater is a healthy beverage," then some site administrator on FaceBook has no problem saying that no reasonable person could have thought the picture was from the game referenced.

In addition, yesterday, Cracked.com published "6 Reasons You Really Can't Believe Anything You Read Online," pointing out that errors are rarely corrected online:

"In fact, there's a little thing they call the "Backfire Effect," where corrections actually increase  misperceptions and make people believe the incorrect story even more than they did previously."

Good Lord, are we that stupid, people?  (Don't answer that.  I am not sure there is any correct answer other than, "Are we that what?")

So, I guess I won't get a retraction from "We Love The Game of Baseball," nor even acknowledgement of my fact-checking. I can live what that.  Perhaps what I can't live with is the contrarian way I, then, must approach my own online presence.  I don't court advertising, obsess about page views, try to piss off my readership or publish anything just to get interest.  Heck my only advertisement is for myself: Buy my book!  Allow me to dream of early retirement!

Nevertheless, the "shelf life" of this post will be less than two days.  When I link to it via facebook, its shelf life is about two hours before the graffiti of Ifunny, cat pictures, proud-to-be-an-American, meal pictures, and whatever else thrown on everyone's FB walls completely obliterates my post.  And I guess that's why I shouldn't worry about "We Love The Game of Baseball's" unfactual post.  Everyone has long forgotten about it.

* "Crosseyed and Painless" The Talking Heads