At this event, Mail on Sunday editor Peter Wright said:
"You can never start from the assumption that something is wrong...You never send a reporter out to go and prove something, you send them out to examine if something is true. You very often start with a gut feeling about a certain event about which you only have partial knowledge and the job of the reporter is to find out what really is going on."
This is the editor of the newspaper that, over the last two weeks, has repeatedly claimed that the BBC has 'dropped', 'jettisoned' and 'replaced' BC/AD with BCE/CE, despite the fact that isn't true and the BBC told his reporter it wasn't true.
It seems the job of his reporter was to go and find what was really going on, but then the paper decided to publish the assumption/gut feeling anyway.
And that myth still refuses to die. On 5 October, the Mail's Simon Caldwell reported on 'a front page editorial in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s official newspaper':
"The BBC has limited itself to changing only the description, rather than the computation of time, but in doing so, it cannot be denied that it has made a hypocritical gesture...an act of enormous foolishness."
So the Mail on Sunday writes a bogus attack on the BBC, and both it and the Mail keep the lie going by pretending it's true, and by reporting on the reaction of people who believe their stories.
Caldwell then writes:
The new guidance from the BBC asserts that the abbreviations for Before Christ and Anno Domini (the Year of the Lord) infringed its protocols on impartiality.
It instructs employees to instead replace them with the non-religious phrases BCE and BC – Before Common Era and Common Era.
This is clearly not true, given what the BBC has said about it being up to indivduals to choose - a statement relegated to the end of the article, after Caldwell repeats all the criticisms made by people who think the terms have indeed been 'dropped'.
But what's this?
Angry Mob points out that in an article published under the 'Daily Mail Reporter' byline last night, there's this sentence:
It had been up on MailOnline for hours, but the subs acted within 30 minutes of Kevin's post being published. And, not for the first time this week, they acted a little too fast:
In the rush to hide their hypocrisy, they mistakenly changed CE to BC. Seven minutes later, they changed it again:
So how did this happen? As Michael King pointed out, the article was a lazy cut-and-paste job from this press release from Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. They said:
A thousand years ago, a brilliant beacon of light blazed in the sky, shining brightly enough to be seen even in daytime for almost a month. Native American and Chinese observers recorded the eye-catching event. We now know that they witnessed an exploding star, which left behind a gaseous remnant known as the Crab Nebula.
The same object that dazzled skygazers in 1054 C.E. continues to dazzle astronomers today by pumping out radiation at higher energies than anyone expected.
And the original MailOnline article said:
A thousand years ago, a brilliant beacon of light blazed in the sky, shining brightly enough to be seen even in daytime for almost a month.
Native American and Chinese observers recorded the eye-catching event.
What they were witnessing was an exploding star, which left behind a gaseous remnant known as the Crab Nebula.
The same object that dazzled skygazers in 1054 C.E. continues to fascinate astronomers today by pumping out radiation at higher energies than anyone expected.
Unsurprisingly, analysis from Churnalism.com shows that 96% of the MailOnline article is straight from the press release.
(Huge hat-tips to Kevin, Tim Miller and others)