|Illustration by the incomparable and totally outrageous Graham Roumieu|
I'm a pretty easy-going, laid-back, ever-smiling kind of person. But one thing that makes me go all "Bigfoot" on somebody is when a journalist makes a careless or lazy mistake in his/her reporting. Even here on my amateur, goofy, and personal blog/rantings, I do my research before I post a date, insert a name, or list details of a place or location. These are just simple, basic facts that I check once, twice, and, often, thrice before posting. I don't get paid to write my blog and I don't get any public recognition. This is my place to share with my friends, family, occasional visitors, and regular followers.When I'm this careful with casual compositions, I expect professionals to be particularly manic about the accuracy of their writing. Unfortunately, sometimes, bad writing still gets published (and paid).
Case in point: I read a recent link posted by Perez Hilton about 20 openly-gay athletes at the 2012 Olympics. For someone who is very open-minded and moderately liberal about political issues and societal mores, I was pleased to see the recognition of sportsmen/sportswomen who have the courage to acknowledge their choice and live an open lifestyle. When I clicked on the link, it profiled a range of athletes (not just the horseback riders, people, so get over it), from tennis stars to track stars, and then I saw the obvious profile of the Netherlands' incredibly talented dressage rider, Edward Gal. Gal and his partner, Hans Peter Minderhoud, were a high-profile fixture at the 2010 WEG, so the list including him as an openly-gay Olympic athlete is a no-brainer. But, what horrified me more than watching a lycra miniskirt ride up the considerable backside of a 300lb woman in the checkout line at Wal Mart was the blatantly inaccurate and completely INCORRECT (embarrassingly so, for anyone who knows anything) biography listed with the profile. To quote: "Gal and his current horse, Moorlands Totilas, are dominant in the international dressage world. At the 2010 World Championships they won three gold medals and are expected to fare well in London." Well, that's interesting.....since Edward Gal famously parted-ways with Totilas a year and a half ago.....and, because Totilas isn't even going to compete in London at all (with or without Gal). It pains me that for a 3-line bio, the author couldn't even take the time or care enough to find information on this top-caliber rider that was more current and up-to-date than 2010. Are you kidding me?
I have to let this go. I just have to. Otherwise, it will make me insane, and the writer of this crap will blissfully continue to live a joyous and ignorant life out there, being none-the-wiser. He did his bit and slapped together a feature, then submitted it and it was published online. End of job, pay him his dough. But some small part of me dies every time a lie is published (and, yes, it is a lie when a complete falsehood is presented as stone-cold fact). I know that BuzzFeed isn't exactly Vanity Fair (and, I have to say that VF has shaped up since I blogged about this debacle a while back), but, if you're going to write something, then by gosh make sure that what you write is right.
And, yes, I triple-checked the spelling of Totilas and Hans Peter Minderhoud (against at least three different sources) before I published this. It wasn't that difficult and I barely broke a sweat.