The race between news outlets for information about breaking stories is hardly a new phenomenon. I heartily recommend that everyone seek out Ben Hecht's autobiography, A Child Of The Century, to get a bird's-eye view of the journalistic culture of the early 20th Century (in case you thought The Front Page was fiction).
But in the age of Google one would expect that the baseline of accuracy for basic facts about a public figure's life would be universal.
Not so. I read two articles today about the passing of John Raitt, the great Broadway performer. The one in the Washington Post says that Rodgers wrote the soliloquy in Carousel specifically to suit Raitt's talents. The one by Reuters says that Hammerstein wrote the soliloquy in Carousel specifically to suit Raitt's talents. Okey-doke.
The Post piece says that in addition to singer Bonnie Raitt, John had a son and a daughter. Reuters says that he had two sons. I am inclined to credit Reuters with the greater accuracy, since they added that their names are Steven and David.
Guys, take five more minutes before going to press and get it right. We're counting on you to inform us about war and medicine and celebrity wardrobes; our lives are in your hands.