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The Article That Wasn’t

I wrote a gratitude article that I really liked. It had an important lesson in it. It had a beautiful baby animal picture. And it told of a wonderful story.

Unfortunately between writing it and publishing it, I found out that it wasn’t true.

Fact checking — It’s not just for large newspapers.

The good news is that our fact-checking caught it. Perhaps we should apply for ISO-9000 certification. Perhaps not, as our catching it was more a matter of luck than skill and my first corrected version was incorrect in an entirely different manner. Perhaps we need a stronger process. Perhaps an intern or three to implement it.

The bad news is that the article wasn’t salvageable. The whole thesis was a lie and I there wasn’t even a usable version adapted to the Time of Dinosaurs. It felt like I had been hit by a meteorite.

Clearly, I have not adapted to the post-truth culture as the allure of a potentially viral article that would show a group and ideas I believed in in a positive light was not a sufficient lure.

My gratitude and of course today’s baby animal picture goes to the people who found the errors and protect you, my loyal readers, from my careless enthusiasm.

And to the Pro-Truth Pledge for encouraging this extra level of care in public discourse.

And to Gleb Tsipursky for creating the Pro-Truth Pledge and his broader work to promote honesty and accuracy in public discourse.


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Written by Russell Brand

Russell has started three successful companies, one of which helped agencies of the federal government become very early adopters of open source software, long before that term was coined. His first project saved The American taxpayer 250 million dollars. In his work within federal agency, he was often called, “the arbiter of truth,” facilitating historically hostile groups and factions to effectively work together towards common goals

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