Thursday, September 25, 2014

Standard-Examiner: "Party's Over, Fallout Remains" ???

Sodden Question: Why would the Standard run a misleading story like this?

Just to kick off a little Thursday morning Weber County Forum discussion, we'll shine the spotlight on a Andreas Rivera story carried in this morning's hard-copy Standard-Examiner, under the headline, "Party's over, fallout remains," and appearing on the Standard's website in slightly altered headline form:
This one's a real doozy, inexplicably blending three separate story lines.  For reasons which we'll spell out below, we're filing it under the topic label, "Sloppy Journalism."

Here's the breakdown, folks.

1) On Saturday, downtown merchants held their thirteenth annual Harvest Moon Celebration. Ending at 10 p.m., this decidedly family friendly event was apparently successful as always, and there's no evidence that it didn't go off without a hitch.

2) At least four hours later (our sources inform us around  2:00 a.m.), "several intoxicated individuals started a brawl with an (un-named) downtown club’s security and other party-goers bar patrons. When police on foot patrol intervened, the brawlers threw beer bottles at them. Police quickly broke up the fight and arrested multiple people for intoxication and disorderly conduct".

3) It's next to impossible (stop the presses) to hail a cab on Two-Five Drive at 2:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning.

Unfortunately, Mr. Rivera's story is all over the map on this. Why Mr. Rivera chose to merge these story lines is a complete mystery to us.

Throughout Mr. Rivera's story (and within the SE's story headlines) is the innuendo that Saturday night's brawl was somehow a result of the Harvest Moon Celebration, which had ended four hours earlier, which is to say at the very least, quite a logical stretch.
Remember, "Correlation does not imply causation" folks: 
Correlation does not imply causation is a phrase in science and statistics that emphasizes that a correlation between two variables does not necessarily imply that one causes the other. [...] 
The counter assumption, that correlation proves causation, is considered a questionable cause logical fallacy in that two events occurring together are taken to have a cause-and-effect relationship. This fallacy is also known as cum hoc ergo propter hoc, Latin for "with this, therefore because of this", and "false cause". A similar fallacy, that an event that follows another was necessarily a consequence of the first event, is sometimes described as post hoc ergo propter hoc (Latin for "after this, therefore because of this").
Bungling SE reporter Mr, Rivera (and the Standard) have taken significant heat in the web-based social media over this hodge-podge of a story, and quite rightly, we think:
Sodden Question: Why would the Standard (which is usually wildly supportive of downtown Ogden events) run a misleading story like this?

Unfortunately. sensationalism still sells newspapers, we guess.

We'll also be keeping our fingers crossed that the currently impressive list of Harvest Moon Celebration sponsors  won't be sent flying the coop, due to today's glaring example of sloppy journalism.


Bill said...

... thank you for calling out the SE headline editor and an inept reporter that is not reporting all the facts ... OGDEN DEALS WITH AFTER-PARTY BRAWL, DRUNKENNESS - what after party? ... there was no after-party - the event ended at 10pm ... and the arrests for 'brawling and drunkenness' took place at one location - Lincoln Ave at 25th Street - 4-5 hours later ... 9 months of countless planning hours by a handful of volunteers, with a 12 year unblemished record, and a continuing harmonious community working relationships with it's sponsors, gets blindsided by a shit scribe job ... Horton, Howell, and Rivera should be ashamed ...

Marko said...

It's known as the "Sub-standard Exaggerator for a reason.

tired of the bull**** said...

Now you know why I quit taking the standard. It is no more a newspaper as is the supermarket that sells them.

Bob Becker said...

Nicely done, Rudi. It was a slumgullion mess of a story as it ran. If the SE's "digital" and "multimedia reporters" still had to run their stories past stoney-hearted gimlet-eyed take-no-prisoners copy editors before they saw print (or posting), I suspect the muddled chronology and inaccurate headline would have been caught and fixed.

As for this story being a reason not to take the SE or the SE being The SubStandard Exaggerator.... bull. I can't think of any papers, including truly excellent ones, that don't blow a story occasionally. As a grizzled old reporter on the (sadly now defunct) Seattle Post-Intelligencer told a summer intern who'd completely blown a major story, "That's ok, kid. This is a newspaper. We print another one tomorrow."

The sadly much-diminished SE is not what it used to be because it no longer has the resources (advertising revenue and staff) to be what it was. I wish it did. So I'm sure do the people who work there. But it is a long long way from being a terrible small city daily. I have seen truly god-awful dailies. The SE isn't even close.

But when it scews the pooch on a story, as it did on this one, it deserves the pasting you gave it.

Ray said...

Any correlation between the handling of this story and the proximity to the soon to be opened temple? Just askin...

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