Re: trusting one's sources

Subject: Re: trusting one's sources
From: "Alan D. Miller" <"Alan D. Miller">
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2000 11:21:06 -0400

John Wilcox wondered:
But this got me to thinking about the larger issue. It seems very common to
simply trust a cited source without checking out. I'm probably as guilty of
this as most people. For instance, take the quote in my sig. I have no idea
who Geri Weizman is or whether she actually said it. Suppose I wrote in my sig:
"You can take away all of a person's rights by removing them one at a time. --
Franklin Roosevelt" Would you think he did or didn't say that, and why or why

If the publication from which a quote is taken is given, we can check it out.
Otherwise, we're left to either blindly believe or disbelieve. Comments?

This speaks to a basic principle. To wit: it is the responsibility of the writer
to verify all citations before using them. If you can't verify the source, don't
use it. Anything less is unprofessional, irresponsible, and very likely
unethical. After all, the reader trusts the writer to present accurate
information, especially in matters of verifiable fact. We are paid to do
research and to write clearly and accurately. If we don't verify our facts
before we use them, we aren't doing our jobs. Period.

Now back to my regularly scheduled crisis ...

Al Miller
alan -dot- miller -at- educate -dot- com

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