Bringing home the blog-truthsWhat does Tim Berners-Lee do if he thinks he's being misquoted and misunderstood? He blogs about it, of course.
An article had earlier appeared in The Guardian featuring a provocative headline Blogging one of biggest perils ostensibly based on a comment by the inventor of the WWW ((link to the article) - Berners-Lee didn't link to it :-)). Berners-Lee refuted it a couple of days later in his latest post, ending with "And, fortunately, we have blogs. We can publish what we actually think, even when misreported". Bully for him.
It is quite well-known that I am no Tim Berners-Lee (!), but /even I/ have had problems with the press. During my 7 3/4 minutes to glory in January 2003 (when it was revealed to general horror and squalid amusement that I had won Mastermind India), I was interviewed by a lady of the local version of a national rag. Probably because she couldn't unlock the keys to the skeletons of the closet, questions soon became speculative. "What next? Will you take part in any international quizzes?", asked she. "There aren't really any international quizzes that I know of", said I. "But if there were, would you?", shot back she. "Well, hmm, perhaps, who knows?", said I.
The next day, I was quoted in the papers as saying (paraphrased) "My next ambition is to go for international quizzes". Thank you very much, Mr. Cocky Quizzer. That one day, I knew what Salman Khan was going through.
More seriously, yes, there is a lot of nonsense "out there". But there is also a good chance someone will spot the nonsense and alert sane minds, if not be able to correct all of it. Everyone new to the web and email goes through a phase of forwarding fake chain threads and believing urban legends, but soon they get pointed to an alternative site refuting it, and hence instilling some much needed scepticism. However, with the newspapers, if you get misquoted, it reaches a lot more people without you getting a chance to completely refute the erroneous impressions (perhaps they'll print a little Letter to the Editor that falls of the page when you lift up the newspaper). One should be equally suspicious about print, irrespective of the nature of the paper it's printed on.
At least, thanks fundamentally to Tim Berners-Lee, you can blog about it.