No one can reasonably expect the major newspapers to be as accurate as the blogs, after all, bloggers have much more experience and better qualifications than reporters. But one would expect that the levels of bureaucracy at major newspapers would at least provide a check on fundamental errors.
Take the Republic's story on the Immigration bill sitting on Governor Napolitano's desk. The point of the story is that Arizona has passed one of the strictest bills in the country. The entire story is built around the Draconian features of the immigration bill. Unfortunately for the Republic, the reporters used the House version of the bill for their story.
(In a bicameral (two chamber) system, bills have to get the approval of BOTH the House AND the Senate in order to be forwarded to the Governor. The Senate has the ability to change (amend) House bills and only the language that BOTH chambers agree on can become law. So writing a story based on the bill as passed by the House can lead to, you know, mistakes.)
Here's the statement that the Republic uses to demonstrate that the Arizona law is one of the two strictest in the country.
Introduced by state Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, it requires each business to sign a sworn affidavit that it does not employ undocumented workers. It imposes fines up to $150,000 for filing a false statement.
Prosecutors would be required to act within three days on written complaints alleging illegal hiring.
Well, the first part's right. It's a Pearce bill. However, the other three parts--the affidavit, the fines and the prosecutorial requirements--were eliminated from the final version.
This is the second example this week of a "never mind" mistake. That's a mistake that is so fundamental to the article that the entire reason for the story disappears.
Last week the Republic's Pat Kossan lamented the fact that the International Baccalaureate program bill died--when in fact it was moved to the budget. Editorial writer Joel Nilsson then relied on the incorrect story when he wrote a "quick hit" complaining about the Legislature's myopia.
So here's note to the editorial board. If you are going to write about the Draconian employer sanctions bill, make sure you read the final version. Or just keep reading the blogs.