Catching my own errors

I tweet links to news stories. Sometimes these stories turn out to be wrong. A while ago, I read this account of a Muslim woman’s report that she had been assaulted and called a “terrorist” in a New York subway station because she was wearing a hijab.

More recent reports say that she made up the story and has been arrested for making a false report.

Which account is true? I don’t actually know. The woman has reportedly “supplied verbal and written confessions to the police,” but police have been known to bully confessions out of people. Certainly the recent news casts serious doubt on her story, and anyone evaluating it ought to know about the recent events.

So I may have reported an event that didn’t happen. This isn’t what I’d call “fake news”; I reported a legitimate news story and checked more than one source to confirm it. Any of us can discover we’ve conveyed inaccurate information; the important thing is to follow up with a correction.

It’s a bit like computer security. You can’t always stop every piece of malware from getting through, so you have to check what may have gotten past your defenses and take corrective action.

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