Facts and figures, myths and mantras – The Boston Globe

There is a sense that we don’t need science or editing or fact-checking as long as we have crowd-sourcing. We don’t have to build opinions on facts; we can build facts on opinions.
This is not just common on blogs but on right-wing talk shows where hosts have gone rogue. What price exactly has Glenn Beck paid for playing loose with facts? Did only Jon Stewart catch Sean Hannity using video from one (large) teabag rally to illustrate another (small) rally?
This fact-free standard is held up (or down) by politicians who follow their lead. Former House majority leader Dick Armey, for example, isn’t about to challenge those “death panel’’ believers who rally to his FreedomWorks flag: “If people want to believe that . . . it’s OK with me.’’ Whatever.
I’m not suggesting that newspapers – once defined as the first rough draft of history – are without errors. But there are prices to pay and corrections to be made and standards to be met. When was the last time an Internet birther ran a correction or lost his job?