Historical Reference

May 22, 2008
By

Voices: Historical reference

May 21, 2008 10:48 pm

— More than three centuries have passed since America’s first continuously published newspaper, the “Boston News-Letter,” was born in Boston in 1704.
Since that humble beginning, America’s “Fourth Estate” facilitated the birth of a nation, documented said nation’s journey to the brink of its own self destruction, disseminated dispatches from the fronts of two world wars, and shared our awe in the birth of the atomic age and the imprint of mankind upon our own mysterious man in the moon.
And though the whir of a computer fan has replaced the clankity-clunk of the Linotype, one tenet has remained constant through the generations: Whatever is put to paper in whatever form, ensure its truths above all else. If it’s a source, have it verified, not once but twice. If it is opinion, state as such. And if it’s representation of fact, then make darn sure that “fact” matches the historical record.
It is with the above in mind that I inquire as to exactly which historical record Dave Woods used in researching the facts for his article on the Branson Titanic exhibit. Specifically, the reference to the Cunard Lines dinnerware and the commissioning and building of the doomed liner. While the exhibit may very well display Cunard Line dinnerware, it belies belief that it came from the White Star Line-commissioned, -built and -christened R.M.S. Titanic. Granted, some may find my irritation with such mistake subaltern to the entire story, but in this age where historical fact is but the stepchild to theatrical license, if the caretakers of the Fourth Estate can’t be trusted for the facts, who can?
Geoff Caldwell
Joplin

Copyright © 1999-2008 cnhi, inc.

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