“Fake news” is now a part of the vernacular here in North America.
It is a term applied to any news article that fails to deliver accurate and balanced information to its readers, whether by design or incompetence.
By its very nature, the car hobby is largely immune to the pressures of inaccurate information because (typically) there is no hidden agenda about the facts. The car guy may not have delivered the technical facts with complete accuracy, but we do our own research into the information provided to us if there appears to be a discrepancy.
There is no reason to blame the car guy for inaccurate information during the interview process in most cases because they sincerely believe their information is accurate and are not trying to deceive us. We have learned a great deal about the technical side of a build since MyStarCollectorCar’s April 2009 debut and are grateful for the opportunity to showcase the talents of many car guys over the years.
Consequently, we are willing to do the heavy lifting to ensure accuracy in our stories as it applies to the nuts and bolts of a build. MyStarCollectorCar is also grateful to our readers when they spot something that is not quite accurate in our articles. Fortunately, we can correct the errors because we are an online publication, also known as an e-zine in 21st century technology.
However, we rely completely upon the accuracy of any personal element outlined during the interview process because the personal side of a story is a fundamental part of our philosophy here at MyStarCollectorCar. The emotional connection between an owner and his or her vintage vehicle is the most compelling reason for an interview in our opinion.
Our background story has always included the strong link between owner and vehicle, so we place an element of trust about the personal information presented to us during the interview process. We are happy to report the information is delivered in an accurate manner by most of our interviewees.
Unfortunately, the few exceptions to the rule are usually provided by self-aggrandizing types who choose to inflate their own role in the vehicle’s history, particularly as it applies to the build process. One of the more egregious examples about how inaccurate information (fake news) can have far-reaching effects was a recent email received by us about a story we ran in the past.
The vehicle and its current owner will remain nameless, plus we pulled the story because MyStarCollectorCar does not want the current owner to bask in the glory of the build since he had little or no involvement in the process — despite the information he provided to us about his important role in the project.
Essentially the current owner wrote a check and bought the vehicle from the estate of the car guy who actually built the car. A member of the former owner/builder’s family contacted us and was understandably upset with our article — so we pulled it and apologized to the family member about the fake news.
It has never been our intention to provide fake news to our readers and we will continue to avoid this media malady in the future as much as possible.
BY: Jim Sutherland
Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section.