Now, many on my flist roll their eyes at me as Emma Watson's self-appointed online defender, and that's fine. But it's not my feelings for Emma that drive me now. As in a few previous similar rants, it is in my concern that journalism is dying, that simple competent fact-checking is going the way of the dodo.
Charlotte Kuchinsky published a column today entitled "Emma Watson's New Role is No 'Harry Potter' Character." Go ahead and click that title, it's a link, and it will lead you to a column that's very critical of Emma. Which is, honestly, fine. Actors are actors, like 'em, don't, review 'em positively, review 'em negatively, you like what you like, that's why there's more than one. But this one is so breathtakingly incompetent, so replete with factual errors and grotesque omissions as to boggle the mind.
If you'll look at the bottom of the column, you'll see this:
Comments: 0 ( 1 removed by Charlotte Kuchinsky )
That's right: Gather lets columnists remove comments from their own articles.
So when someone comments pointing out the complete lack of basic competence and fact-checking in their work, they can expunge it. Not so fast, Gather!
The one comment she deleted, from me, began: "Is it too much to ask that a reporter do even a modicum of research before writing about something? Do you really think you're qualified to write about this based on one sentence quoted by a co-star? If..."
That much is preserved in my Gather.Com account. The rest I can't quote verbatim, but I can recreate the salient points fairly:
"If you'd read the novel, which you clearly have not, you'd know the character of Sam, played by Ms. Watson, is anything but 'Sleazy.' She's a sweet, welcoming, and caring High School Senior, taking freshman Charlie (Logan Lerman) under her wing.
"If you'd done even a modicum of research, you'd know that Perks isn't Watson's first post-Potter role: her first will be playing Lucy, a wardrobe assistant, in My Week With Marylin, which is scheduled to premiere Sunday, October 9th, at the New York Film Festival.
"If you'd done even the slightest digging, you'd have found multiple interviews with Perks director Stephen Chbosky, also the author of the novel, in which he's said that he's making sure that the film will be released with a PG-13 rating (the same rating as Watson's current film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II.)
"There are plenty of writers out there willing to do their due diligence before they publish. If you're not, perhaps Gather should give you space to a writer with the competence and ethics to do so."
Letting the comment stand, even responding to it with an argument? Both fine. But by deleting it in a ham-fisted effort to cover up her abject failure as a journalist, Ms. Kuchinsky proves herself incompetent. Nothing under her by-line should ever be carried by anythign thinking itself a responsible news source. I'll be working on that for a while.