Friday, October 12, 2012

Who should we trust?

Depending on the media I consult, last night's debate was won by either Joe, Paul or Martha. Or there was no winner.

A few years ago, on the same day and working from the same information, The New York Times ("the newspaper of record") and the Associated Press ("the largest and oldest news organization in the world") came up with very different headlines. You can believe the one you prefer -- or neither of them.

(Yes, I know that a college and a university are not the same thing, but the headlines did not intend to imply a difference.)

This reminds me of when I was an editor at Rolling Stone magazine in Manhattan in the early 1970s. I walked up Madison Avenue from Grand Central Terminal to get to my office at 78 East 56th Street. There was a point where I could see giant clocks on both the Newsweek Building and the IBM Building. The clocks were often more than two minutes apart. I can't remember them ever agreeing. My own watch, of course, had a mind of its own. 

Right now my phone says the time is 6:57 and my PC says it's 6:58. Oops, the phone now shows 6:58 like the PC. Oops oops, now the PC shows 6:59. If my wife asks what time it is, I'll say "seven." 

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