The supposed reason that we need mainstream media is that bloggers, left to their own, don't do enough fact checking, and the "layers of editors" at mainstream outlets catch problems. Or... not so much. From the Irish Times:
A WIKIPEDIA hoax by a 22-year-old Dublin student resulted in a fake quote being published in newspaper obituaries around the world.
Apparently, Wikipedia editors caught the problem quickly, since it wasn't sourced - and the student had to push it back into the page a number of times to see whether it would be picked up. Sure enough, the quote landed in multiple papers and blogs, and it stands uncorrected in many of them. Even with Wikipedia editors cleaning it up, the mainstream media just missed it:
"I didn't expect it to go that far. I expected it to be in blogs and sites, but on mainstream quality papers? I was very surprised about," he said. However, the hoax remained undiscovered for weeks until Fitzgerald e-mailed offending newspapers to tell them that they had published an inaccurate quote.
My point isn't some kind of triumphalist thing for Wikipedia, or for bloggers. It's more that the major media is no more careful than the average blogger is. In general, people - journalists or not - rate sites they see information on, and repeat what they see based on their level of trust in the source. The idea that an item should have multiple sources seems to be followed more in theory than in reality...
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