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Monday, 9 April 2012

French presidential election 2012 - when a citizen journalism site confuses dates and candidates

Ah the wonders of those so-called crowd-powered news sites where members from around the world contribute stories on what's making the headlines.

First up of course is the paradox that those providing their own particular take on what's happening more often than not use the very sources for stories for which they frequently show such contempt; the mainstream media.

And of course the "reporting" often amounts to little more than a simple compilation or re-write of what is already available elsewhere on the Net.

Just to spice things up, mistakes are often made because the author simply doesn't have sufficient knowledge of the facts, hasn't checked them properly or has relied on information that wasn't entirely accurate in the first place.

There's one such story at the moment on Digital Journal, a site which purports to be, "a global digital media network with 34,000+ professional and citizen journalists, bloggers, photographers and freelancers in 200 countries around the world."

200 countries?

Really?

More than are represented at the United Nations (193) and exceeding the number most generally recognised as being the correct one (196) according to other sources available on the Net.

Clever (albeit exaggerated) innit?

Whatever.

Little wonder then that readers of the site are being treated to some suitably inaccurate "reporting" of the French presidential elections at the moment.


Getting it wrong - Digital Journal piece on France's presidential election (screenshot from Digital Journal)

In a story which takes a look at one of François Hollande's proposals, the one to tax the very rich at a rate of 75 per cent (if elected), the author finishes with a flourish maintaining that, "French voters head to the polls between Apr. 23 (???) and May 6" and that," Five candidates are vying for the presidency."

So the French will be able to vote non-stop between the two dates given - right?

Wrong.

As anyone who's keeping track of political events in France will know, the French will actually be voting on April 22 in the first round and May 6 in the second round run-off between the "top two".

Nothing in between - apart from debates (probably) and endless additional polls.

All right semantics perhaps when it comes to "between" and "on" although the exact dates should have been checked.

But as for the number of candidates...well it's just plain wrong. There are 10.

Yes there are the five quoted but - just to set the record straight - there are also another five so-called "smaller" candidates all declared and validated by the "wise men" on the country's Constitutional Council to take part in the first round.

They are Eva Joly (Europe Écologie Les Verts), Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (Debout la République or Arise the Republic, a self-proclaimed "traditional Gaullist party") Nathalie Arthaud (extreme left Lutte ouvrière) , Philippe Poutou (the far left Nouveau Parti anticapitaliste, NPA or New Anticapitalist Party) and Jacques Cheminade (the rather mish-mash Solidarité et progrès party which espouses the ideology of US political activist Lyndon Hermyle LaRouche, Jr)

But perhaps they don't count.

The piece was written and published on April 3 and live on the site "informing" readers until...well it might still be there as nobody seems to have noticed that the information given is incorrect.

There again, perhaps nobody is particularly interested.

Why not waddle over for a giggle and a sigh.

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