From Jose Carillo
I’m sharing in this week’s edition of Jose Carillo’s English Forum a report that will hardly be any consolation to Filipinos who are finding to their disgust that some of the locally produced textbooks for primary and secondary students are not only incompetently written and chockfull of errors but are horribly edited or not even edited. It’s about the finding that three current nonfiction bestsellers in the United States—Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin, The Road to Character by David Brooks, and On the Run by Alice Goffman—contain factual inaccuracies, false statistics, or shaky details serious enough to warrant disclaimers or frantic assurances of revision by their respective publishers. The culprit? By tradition and by default, nonfiction books in the U.S. are not fact-checked to anything near the standard of a magazine piece. But because of these scandals over bestselling nonfiction running afoul with accuracy, Kachka says, the U.S. publishing status quo might shift a notch this year by finally making pre-publication fact-checking of nonfiction mandatory. Let’s not just hope but prod the Philippine publishing status quo, particularly those engaged in textbook production for public schools, to shift several notches in the same direction.