I don't often use this blog to comment on current affairs, but a recent news story about Dickens illustrates the problems with modern-day journalism so well, it's hard to pass up the opportunity to point it out.
A letter from Dickens to author Florence Marryat has recently been discovered and is going up for auction. In this letter, Dickens rejected a piece that she submitted to All the Year Round. Apparently she had asked him to provide an extensive critique of the piece, which he emphatically declined to do: "Surely that is scarcely reasonable. . . . You have no idea of the labor inseparable from the editing of such a Journal as All The Year Round, when you suppose it within the bounds of possibility that those who discharge such duties can give critical reasons for the rejection of papers."
Various papers, reporting on the finding of the letter, chose, as papers will too often do, to sensationalize it. The Telegraph headlined it "Unseen Charles Dickens letter reveals rude retort to fan"; the Independent, "Never-before-seen Charles Dickens letter reveals rude response to fan."
A few problems with this take on things: