Wednesday, September 20, 2006 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Yau premiere webcast

The webcast started with music around 11:45 a.m. EDT. You could have opened

and entered your data together with the room number 150144. Before you do so, you may also have checked your computer and its software. Howard Cooper, the attorney, made a very meaningful introduction. Prof. Yau with his full and charming Chinese accent then showed how much he cares about mathematics and other mathematicians. Cooper then used several PowerPoint transparencies to demonstrate some of the most major obviously untrue charges that the New Yorker has printed.

It seems as a clear case to me but the U.S. tradition based on the 1st amendment makes things non-trivial. The New Yorker so far defends the shoddy journalists but the paper has absolutely no arguments relevant for the particular charges, so they explain how much time the journalists have spent on the article.

I think that such arguments don't have any value: they don't seem to understand what they have done. If the editors are responsible for a libel, it does not matter whether they've been working on it for 30 seconds or 7 months. What does the time have to do with the charges?

A libel doesn't mean that a journalist has spent less than XY hours on an article. A libel doesn't mean that someone writes bad things about a person whom everyone else loves (such a person doesn't exist). A libel means that a journalist has written a text read by many readers with false accusations against a person, despite knowing that these accusations aren't supported by available evidence, and the good name of that person was damaged. The article in the New Yorker is, in my opinion, an example.

Some people are just illogical and it's not too promising a discussion with them if they don't get it.

Incidentally, you can see this complaint indicating that the article can also be viewed as an attack against the Chinese mathematicians in general.

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