April 19, 2009 in Features

The Slice: On the Internet, accuracy only gets in the way

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Remember that e-mail sent to all God’s children last year about the duck rescue in downtown Spokane?

Well, that story is back. But this time it’s different.

Someone has rewritten it to make it sound like the events took place recently in San Antonio, Texas.

I’m not kidding.

It’s the exact same tale of a banker helping a mother duck and her ducklings make it to the river. Only now, in this new version bouncing around blogs on the Internet, the banker supposedly works in San Antonio and the river is in Texas.

The brazen loon who decided to edit reality even attached some of the original photos taken in downtown Spokane. And the almost word-for-word theft is so complete it includes the expression “stuporing” from the original e-mail, even though that isn’t a real word.

My friend Steve Paulson alerted me to the existence of this modified version of the duck story. “I guess Spokane and the Spokane River just aren’t as sexy as San Antonio and the Riverwalk,” he wrote.

Maybe not. Why it’s almost enough to make one suspect that you can’t believe everything you read online.

But perhaps I’m too hung up on old-fashioned mainstream media ideas about things like, you know, truth.

Maybe I need to get with the program and feel free to alter facts whenever it suits me. Come to think of it, that could be kind of fun. Let’s give it a try.

“Next time you’re in downtown Spokane, you’ll definitely want to stop by the historic Alamo and visit the site where brave Northwesterners fought off rampaging Canadians for several days before …”

“The original bicycle shop where the Wright brothers invented the airplane in downtown Spokane has been painstakingly preserved and is …”

“Not everyone knows that Graceland, Elvis Presley’s home in Airway Heights, was originally purchased as …”

“Who could forget the ‘Miracle on Ice,’ when the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team defeated the vaunted Soviets in Coeur d’Alene and forever changed …”

“My favorite scene in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is when people in the balcony of that courthouse in Colville …”

“When Mariah Carey was in grade school at Spokane’s Grant Elementary, she used to annoy teachers and classmates by …”

“When it was announced that The Spokesman-Review had won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of alley garbage pickup …”

“The F-5 tornado that tore through Hillyard in 1973 left a scene of …”

“Someone once complained to The Spokesman-Review’s circulation department about a young newsboy named Bing Crosby who used to whistle while delivering papers and apparently disturbed …”

Oh, wait. Ignore that last one. That really happened.

•Today’s Slice question: A romance novel based on your life would be called what?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; fax (509) 459-5098; e-mail pault@spokesman.com. For previous Slice columns, see www.spokesman.com/columnists. How about “Keep Your Shirt On” as a city slogan?


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