I was going to write about potholes this week and how this terrible winter has wreaked havoc on the nation’s roadways and soon the economy when we have to start repairing them. More importantly, why are they called potholes when I’ve searched the ones on my road and can’t find any pot or even a pot at the bottom of them, maybe a missing airliner as big as some are, but there is more pressing news to discuss this week and that is the impending war between humans and goats.
I’m not kidding (no pun intended).
It seems the British newspaper The Argus had to issue a correction last week after it ran an interview with the director of the Brighton Science Festival. Here is the correction in its entirety:
“Friday’s Argus featured a Your Interview with Richard Robinson. We would like to clarify that the quote ‘I have become increasingly convinced that we are heading for a disastrous confrontation and that the 21st century will be remembered for a terrible war between mankind and goats’ was a reader question and not a response from Mr. Robinson.
“The next paragraph: ‘People often underestimate how dangerous a goat can be – I personally know six people who have become severely injured by goats, and the annual death toll racked up by goats is over 2,000,000’ is also a reader question and not a response by Mr. Robinson.
“The Argus is happy to correct this and would like to apologise (sic) for the error.”
Now one of the things I used to emphasize when I taught media ethics was the importance of doing your own reporting, not relying on what some other journalist had reported. So when other newspapers picked up on the original story and ran with the news that the world was about to be plunged into a terrible war with cloven-hoofed mammals with nasty horns and stylish goatees, they weren’t doing their jobs although some obviously believed that it was important to get that news out as quickly as possible.
I also used to stress that it was important to double-check all your facts which The Argus apparently failed to do. A good journalist would have taken that information and gone out and interviewed some goats to determine if there was, indeed, an impending goat insurgence and what the goats’ demands were aside from world domination.
Now I owe my life to a goat, so my mother tells me. Apparently as an infant I couldn’t tolerate cow’s milk so I was raised on goat milk. It wasn’t that baaaad. So where would that put me if there were a coming goat apocalypse? Would the fact they nurtured me as a child give me some special dispensation? Might I be able to serve as a human ambassador to the massing goat herds, er, hordes?
I’m sorry, but when newspapers make stupid mistakes like that, it just really gets my goat.
Marty Russell writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.