I'll confess that I don't watch much television news, but I have run across Greta Van Susteren through the years, principally when she served as an analyst during the O.J. Simpson trial. Since then, it would appear Ms. Van Susteren has parlayed her expertise into a nightly primetime show on the Fox News Channel.
Where she pontificates on matters outside her expertise.
For instance, Ms. Van Susteren, who may be highly qualified to discuss the criminal law, also feels qualified to discuss computer surveillance, security, and international intelligence. But on these matters she has no more business giving opinions than do I. Less, in fact. I know this, because I am one of her sources of news.
Screenshots follow, to punish the guilty.
Now, it may well be that Ms. Van Susteren has been to North Korea three times, and she may well read a bit about the country, but if she is obtaining her news from "the North Korea state-owned news twitter feed," she is obtaining it from a dubious source indeed. The feed's actual author, me2, has never been to the Korean peninsula at all, and cannot read a word of the language. "The North Korean state run media" is a parody, derived in tone more from Soviet Russian newspapers (which I could read) than from Korean propaganda.
How could this have happened? Probably confirmation bias: the Tweet was too good to check. If Ms. Van Susteren had scrolled further down the feed, she'd have found such gems of news as:
or the latest celebrity gossip from Pyongyang:
We're told, by the media, that we should trust their authority, that they have "layers of editors and fact-checkers" at their service. But sometimes they're no better than bloggers, particularly when they venture outside their areas of expertise, or they fail to consult actual experts.
This is not a slam against Ms. Van Susteren or Fox News in particular. The "North Korea state-owned news twitter feed" has taken in many journalists through the years, at publications and websites more and less prestigious, on the right and left sides of the ideological center. It is to say, rather, that we as consumers of what the news media purvey, should be careful about what we're buying.
Trust but verify. Caveat emptor.
Despite multiple comments at her own site warning Ms. Van Susteren, THIS IS A PARODY, meaning, "Go back and look," Ms. Van Susteren (who has updated her post) merely concedes that "some say" the "North Korea state-owned news twitter feed" is a parody. I myself, and others, have tweeted her multiple times to tell her: "Yes it is."
It's disappointing that, rather than conceding the obvious, Ms. Van Susteren went with the "some say" dodge. I've fallen victim to benevolent pranks and hoaxes myself: the best course is to offer congratulations: "You got me," laugh, and admit it. So I've offered Ms. Van Susteren time-stamped proof:
I'm sure Ms. Van Susteren gets many replies on Twitter, so perhaps she hasn't read of this. But she has been active on the service, since the world learned the truth about Joe Biden.
It is a sweet puppy. Again, this isn't ideological criticism of Ms. Van Susteren, or of Fox, but an example of confirmation bias. When I want to get ideological, I do it with Juche. SECOND UPDATE: If Ms. Van Susteren replies or addresses this, we will update.
Remember when I said this gentle bit of media criticism was non-ideological?
Slate, hardly a bastion of right-wing thought, has just fallen for the same bait (here's a cache). According to Slate, North Korea is enjoying a massive breakthrough in internet technology.
Again, a screenshot to punish the guilty:
To its credit, Slate has left the story (mostly) intact, and published a correction. A most grudging correction, which hardly acknowledges that author Lily Hay Newman was hacked by … her own gullibility, and again, confirmation bias.
It isn't a "misstatement," Ms. Newman. It's a failure to read. Again, if you'd only scrolled down the feed a bit, you'd have discovered this recap of the 2014 World Cup:
Or this important news about Ebola in the United States:
FOURTH UPDATE: MUST CREDIT POPEHAT AND DPRK_NEWS!
Sweet Jesus! The Washington Post!
Layers of editors and fact-checkers.
Newsweek, which isn't saying much, these days, but I'll take it.
Another hour, another scalp claimed from people who should know better.
And finally… Welcome Instapundit readers! Many thanks to Professor Reynolds for the link to this post, which as acknowledged above, demonstrates something he's been saying about news consumption for years: Caveat emptor. SEVENTH UPDATE, AND AN EIGHTH THERE SHALL NOT BE! Newsweek can take a joke. They asked for an interview, and we gave it. And: Mediaite, a site devoted to analysis of the U.S. running dog lackey media, also asked for comment. We complied. EIGHTH UPDATE, FIFTEEN DAYS LATER. The most trusted name in news. "Braggartly." CNN has memory-holed that part of the story, but we keep screenshots. Archive here.
NINTH UPDATE: BRITISH TABLOID EDITION, EIGHTEEN DAYS LATER
The spit-licking hyenas of Britain's Daily Mail may embrace the DPRK, but that will not save them.