4 Movies about Fact Checking

From His Girl Friday to All the President's Men, Hollywood has had an odd fascination with journalists. They're portrayed as glorified detectives that seek out the truth for innocent people or unravel political scandals. But what of the fact checkers? Fact checkers are the uniquely American members of the editorial chain, making sure that everything printed in a magazine is correct. Almost every journalist has spent some time as a fact checker; this Wikipedia article has an assuredly incomplete list of former fact checkers (and yes, I do see the irony in linking to a Wikipedia article when writing about fact checking). As it turns out, Hollywood has given some love to the fact checkers. Here are three of the biggest fact checking movies, along with one online video.

Shattered Glass

Shattered Glass is the movie all journalism students should see. Besides imparting the important lessons that you can't just stumble on an amazing story and that most reporting isn't fun, it has an extended sequence about how articles get edited at a major magazine. On the other hand, it also shows the best way to beat the fact checking system "“ only use reporter's notes. The movie follows the true story of Stephen Glass (played by Hayden Christensen of Darth Vader fame), a reporter at The New Republic who fabricated most of his pieces. He is outed by a reporter at a rival magazine and done in by some intrepid fact checking. Of course, it really doesn't take much to get through some of Glass' lies- he makes up the phone numbers for his sources, then gives the flimsiest of flimsy excuses for them not picking up.

Makes fact checkers look like: Sherlock Holmes

Bright Lights, Big City

In between making the three Back to the Future installments, Michael J. Fox starred in Bright Lights, Big City, an adaptation of the Jay McInerney novel. Fox plays Jamie Conway, a fact checker for The New Yorker who's also addicted to cocaine. Besides being a fact checker at the so-called "Vatican of fact checking," Conway's life is in shambles "“ his wife left him, his mother has died and he's actually about to be fired. I guess fact checking isn't always as good as it seems.

Makes fact checkers look like: Kate Moss

Almost Famous

almost famous.jpegIf Almost Famous made reporters look like party people, it made the fact checkers out to be cops. Young William Miller follows the fictional band Stillwater on tour and writes about his experiences hanging out with the band and their entourage (including the groupie Penny Lane). Everything looks great (after all, he just partied with Billy Crudup) and the story is ready to be printed in Rolling Stone, until a fact checker cancels the story because the band won't verify it. Of course, this being Hollywood, things work out in the end, as the band confirms the story and the nasty fact checker is thwarted.

Makes fact checkers look like: Tightwad Angela from The Office

FCU with Bill Murray

This video, featured on FunnyOrDie.com, shows fact checkers in the coolest light. The fact checkers walk with a swagger, work for a division named with an acronym and wear FCU jackets. The video follows the FCU on a Bond-like mission to find out if Bill Murray drinks a glass of warm milk before falling asleep, which includes meeting a secret source disguised as a hot dog vendor, rappelling down a building and getting to watch M*A*S*H* with Bill Murray. Sure, they probably could have just called Murray's publicist, but that wouldn't have been fun. (Warning: Some of the video may not be safe for work)

Makes fact checkers look like: Jack Bauer

Take a Rare Glimpse Inside the World's Largest Seed Reserve

Since 2008, the remote Arctic island of Spitsbergen has been home to the world’s largest seed storage facility, known as the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

The 11,000-square-foot facility contains nearly 865,000 seed samples—many of which are crops—and functions as both a reserve in the event of a catastrophe and as a backup for other seed banks around the world. Countries can send samples for preservation and access the reserves as needed (the effort is funded by Norway in conjunction with the organization Crop Trust). The vault was opened for the first time last year in light of the destruction caused by the Syrian War.

Access to the fault is notoriously limited, but AJ+ has a glimpse inside on its YouTube page. It’s a rare look at a place that isn’t known for its looks, but holds some of the planet’s most beautiful and valuable offerings.

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

This Infographic Explains the Difference Between Perfume and Eau de Toilette

Ever wondered why you can't smell the perfume you dabbed on earlier this morning? Maybe it's because you aren't actually wearing perfume. Instead, you likely applied eau de toilette, cologne, or another type of fragrance.

These sprays contain different concentrations of fragrance oil dissolved in solutions of alcohol and water. Scents with a heavier amount of oil are stronger, they're more expensive, and they also last for longer periods of time. Even the most discerning shopper might not know whether to opt for parfum or eu de parfum when perusing bottles of Chanel No. 5 at the fragrance counter—or even realize there's a difference. 

If you'd prefer to smell like a few roses instead of a field of them, it's handy to know the difference between perfume, eau de parfum, eau de toilette, cologne, and eau fraiche when you're out shopping for a new scent. Lifehacker recently ran this handy infographic by Real Men Real Style, which breaks down the strength of each fragrance along with how long it lasts. Use it as a guide to purchase the perfect product for you.

[h/t Lifehacker]


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