Like many of the finest mothers, mine worries. One of her worries is about what I do in my job. She knows I write about companies going bankrupt and worries that I may say or do something that gets me into trouble. To help her sleep, I try not to tell her about how many billionaires I’m writing about who are losing their fortunes.
I tell her not to worry because after a dozen years in the business, I know how not to make mistakes. And as long as I stick to the lessons I have learned, then my stories are impervious to even the most assertive of lawyers.
Another defence mechanism is my employer’s rule that any mistake, however small, must be publicly corrected. This humiliating process helps keeps a lid on the number of mistakes made – no-one wants their mistakes, slips and errors listed for all to see.
Moreover, every claim we make in an article must be “sourced”. I cannot simply say, for instance, that the world is going to hell in a handcart. Instead, I must say the world is going to hell in a handcart, said Milton Friedman (for example). And that’s “said” rather than “according to” because “according to” suggests the journalist might be questioning the opinion of the source.
Given all of this, reading Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine” was itself a shocking experience.
2 days ago