The Dirty Secret of Publishing, Public Endangerment

September 28, 2010

The Dirty Secret in Publishing

Most people have the mistaken notion that things in print have to be true because if they are not, then the publishers could get sued. Nothing could be further from the truth.

First of all printed canons of journalistic integrity are all voluntary. Editors flout them with impunity. Other professions have codes of integrity, the violation of which gets your license pulled and you get kicked out of the profession. In other words, they are mandatory ethics. Why does the media get a pass?

For example, you never see global warming stories presenting balance covering both sides of the issue. Global warming is a theory based upon very poor computer modeling. What is even more a theory is the cause of the supposed 1 degree rise in average world wide temps in the last one hundred years.

I got into writing because of all the lousy how to articles and books being published filled with errors and incomplete information. I used to be an award winning contractor before I became a marriage coach. Counseling is actually what I got my degrees in. The Home Depot 123 how to books are actually published by Meredith Corp who publishes Ladies Home Journal. These books are riddled with errors because writers with no “real world” construction experience wrote them. They just put Home Depot’s cover on them. I have confronted Home Depot over this and they don’t care.

Lately I have been at war with the Boston Globe Newspaper. They have a guy by the name of Peter Hotton writing a handyman column whose sole qualifications are a BA in English 40 years ago. He obviously has no real world construction experienced. He makes things up off the top of his head and does not bother to fact check his answers which are frequently wrong and sometimes dangerous. For example he told a reader that it is okay to reroof your house in the winter. This violates every major shingle manufacturers installation instructions and voids the warrantee. His editors refused to print a correction or retraction. In fact his editors have refused to print any corrections or retractions.

Most recently, he suggested to remove rust stains from a roof using bleach. He uses bleach as a cure-all often dangerously. In fact not only will bleach not remove rust, it actually causes rust because it oxidizes metal. He then suggested to use a couple of acids I had formerly told him about in other corrections. The problem is that I can easily visualize a scenario where the homeowner would buy all 3 products and go up on the roof to remove the rust stains. The problem is that is you mix an acid with bleach, you immediately release deadly clouds of chlorine gas which literally knocks you back. The problem is that you could be knocked back off the roof and die. Amazingly, the editor refuses to print a correction or retraction. This is an absolute violation of every printed canon of journalistic integrity and poses a clear and present danger to the readers. This is criminal. If you are as mad about this as I am, I suggest that you drop him a line. His name is Doug Most or better yet call him on the phone. His email address is dmost@globe.com

Blessings to all who read this
John Wilder


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