I got a call yesterday from a fact checker at The New Yorker. He was working on a piece that made reference to H.L. Mencken, and very apologetically asked me if I could perhaps help him by answering two questions (one was simple, the other subtle). I told him that Mencken would have approved of his labors, which is true. Mencken did quite a bit of writing for The New Yorker in the Thirties and Forties, and referred admiringly to its fact-checking department as “Ross’ goons” (Harold Ross being, of course, the magazine’s founding editor and resident tutelary spirit).
That call filled me with nostalgia. As anyone knows who’s been in journalism for more than the past 20 minutes or so, fact checking is an increasingly lost art….
Read the whole thing here.