TWAT News: Online professor fails to recognize Australia as country

A news article on Time states that there was a professor of an online university that gave a student’s paper a failing grade after insisting that Australia was a continent, not a country. To be clear, it was the professor who insisted.

Those of us who did alright in elementary school geography know that Australia is, in fact, both a country and a continent. If you’re among the people who have at least that basic education, you’d not have made the mistake of thinking otherwise.

To its credit, the online college did replace the professor in question. However, there’s still something to be said for attending a college that you actually physically attend, as opposed to online colleges. Because you’d be seeing them in person, you’d know that your professors are actual professors, and not just some guy you’re teleconferencing with.

This is one of those news stories that you hear about, laugh, then later share at the coffee machine at work as your colleagues in turn laugh about the buffoonery of someone they’ve never heard about. So in that sense, this news story isn’t terribly unusual.

What really stood out to me about this story is that Time used Buzzfeed as a source. I repeat: Time used Buzzfeed as a source.

Because I’m cultivating a readership that aren’t total morons, I suspect that you already know that Buzzfeed isn’t so much a source of novel content and original reporting as it is a repackager of lazy and plagiarized content. If you’re reading “original” reporting on Buzzfeed, there’s a roughly 100% chance the reporting originated somewhere else, whether or not the original source was credited. What was original to Buzzfeed could likely have been made up by a college dropout on the fly, for all any casual reader knows. This might sound empowering if you’re an idiot, but should otherwise be recognized as enabling a complete lack of journalistic accountability.

While this story in particular may be factually accurate, it remains that Buzzfeed should not be trusted as a primary source when reporting the news. The fact that Time Magazine is trusting Buzzfeed as a source isn’t so much a compliment to Buzzfeed as it is yet another sign of Time’s fall from relevance.

Because it’s hard to trust the veracity of a story that Buzzfeed sourced, the smart thing to do is check to see whether other news outlets are making the same mistake. What I found is that The Epoch Times did the same thing. Come on, Epoch Times; that you’re a Chinese news outlet should make you above the shenanigans of western information media.

An online professor actually failed a student for identifying Australia as a country, not just a continent. That Was Actually The News.

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