“We know there are known knowns: there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns: that is to say we know there are things we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.” —Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Defense Department briefing, Fe. 12, 2002
I just saw this quota and though I can't stand the person who said it it brings out a very important topic to me and what has always been dear to my heart. When writing, be accurate!
I once read a piece written by a girl who was visiting some friends in Phnom Penh. She was writing on the Coupe of 1997. Now granted the magazine was just a small mothering magazine with a small readership. But it was a magazine and while reading it I got to the point where I was holding my head say "Where in the world did she get her information?" or "How could she say such a thing?" I wrote to the editor who I knew and brought up each point. About the only thing the girl got right was where she was staying while in the country... My friend the editor told me to write to her directly and tell her what I felt about her article.
I wrote to this girl and told her I had also lived through the coupe that she had called a civil war... I asked her if she knew the definition of either? I then asked her about all her other gross mistakes? Her reply was simple. She didn't really care and hadn't checked her facts and blah,blah...
To say I was floored by what she said to me and her article and her lack of caring... She was writing and reaching people who didn't know and some may not care but when a person who reads something knows the facts and sees them distorted it makes you really want to scream. Another case came up about 1/2 a year ago. There was an article in the BDN, Bangor Daily News and it was about this one victim of a dog attack. The victim had been attacked by a pit bull... no maybe a Bull Mastiff or was it a Pug...? The thing was they had some animal doctor giving facts about dog attacks and certain breeds and though I have never owned a Pitbull or a Pug I have owned a Bull Mastiff. She gave all these suppose facts... SUPPOSE FACTS. Well I went to my friends at Dog Fancy Magazine and complained and asked for help. This person who wrote the article never checked anything she just wrote, probably to meet a deadline BUT even with suppose facts from the experts you would think they would check?? NO they don't so I go the information I needed and double checked it... and wrote back to this woman and then then she gave me the address of the dog doctor... what a waste of time. Neither cared that they were putting out gross facts about dog breeds. One of the things that really cracked me up was that when I told both these women that they had both said a Pit bull could reach weights of up to 200 lbs... that was like a light bulb going off . She said also this woman could have been attacked by a Pug... first they didn't even have a clue as to what attacked the woman, then to give gross facts about dogs like a 200LB Pit Bull... They finally did find the dog that attacked the woman, it was a mix. BUT what I am trying to get across is it's very important to know what you write and to get your facts straight.
I write fiction but that still doesn't excuse me from not getting the facts correct. I love to research and I am always double checking what I wrote and though this little piece has nothing to do with my books it does have about writing in general so now that I have had my little venting time I will get back to work.