Skip to comments.Political Journalists Have Themselves to Blame for Sinking Credibility
Posted on 12/14/2017 9:33:59 PM PST by Kaslin
"Our record as journalists in covering this Trump story and the Russian story is pretty good," legendary reporter Carl Bernstein recently claimed. Pretty good? If there's a major news story over the past 70 years that the American media has botched more often because of bias and wishful thinking, I'd love to hear about it.
Four big scoops recently run by major news organizations -- written by top reporters and, presumably, churned through layers of scrupulous editing -- turned out to be completely wrong. Reuters, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal and others reported that special counsel Robert Mueller's office had subpoenaed President Donald Trump's records from Deutsche Bank. Trump's attorney says it hadn't. ABC reported that candidate Trump had directed Michael Flynn to make contact with Russian officials before the election. He didn't (as far as we know). The New York Times ran a story claiming that K.T. McFarland, a former member of the Trump transition team, had acknowledged collusion. She hadn't. Then, CNN topped off the week by falsely reporting that the Trump campaign had been offered access to hacked Democratic National Committee emails before they were published. It wasn't.
Forget your routine bias. These were four bombshells disseminated to millions of Americans by breathless anchors, pundits and analysts, all of whom are feeding frenzied expectations about Trump-Russia collusion that have now been internalized by many as indisputable truths. All four pieces, incidentally, are useless without their central faulty claims. Yet there they sit. And these are only four of dozens of other stories that have fizzled over the year.
If we are to accept the special pleadings of journalists, we have to believe these were all honest mistakes. They may be. But a person might then ask: Why is it that every one of the dozens of honest mistakes is prejudiced in the very same way? Why hasn't there been a single major honest mistake that diminishes the Trump-Russia collusion story? Why is there never an honest mistake that indicts Democrats?
Maybe the problem is that too many people are working backward from a preconception. Maybe newsrooms have too many people who view the world through an identical prism -- which is to say they believe he stole the election with the help of Russians. And perhaps the president's constant lashing out at the media has provoked some newsrooms to treat their professional obligations as a moral crusade rather than a fact-gathering enterprise.
For instance, the CNN reporters who wrote the DNC story, Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb, contend they had two sources who told them Donald Trump Jr. was offered encryption codes to look at hacked DNC emails. They both must have lied to them about the same date on the same email. CNN says that the duo followed "editorial process" in reporting the piece. This brings three lines of questioning to mind.
First: Do news organizations typically run stories about documents they've never authenticated? If so, what other big stories over the past few years have been run based on unauthenticated documents? Can they point to a single story about the Obama administration CNN has written using a similar process? What part of CNN's editorial guidelines deals with this sort of situation?
Second: Why would two independent sources lie about a date on the email to Trump Jr. if they didn't want to mislead the public? And how independent could they really be? How many stories regarding the Russian-collusion investigation has CNN run from these same sources?
Three: If sources lie to you, why not burn them? There may be good reasons to avoid exposing a dishonest source. Perhaps it will scare away legitimate whistleblowers. Perhaps reporters want to preserve relationships with people like Adam Sch -- er, with those in power -- because they may help on other stories in the future. And at the end of the day, you're in contest for information. But these people have put the reporters' reputation -- even their jobs -- in danger. Moreover, they have engaged in a serious abuse of the public trust and an abuse of power. Who knows how many of these mistakes, spread over numerous outlets, came from the same sources? This seems newsworthy.
When honest mistakes are found, the reflex of many political journalists has been portraying themselves as sentinels of free speech and democracy. Often they will attempt to do this by contrasting their track record on truth with that of Donald Trump. Yes, Trump is a fabulist. His tweets can be destructive. And maybe one day Robert Mueller will inform us that the administration colluded with Russia. What it has not done up to this point, however, is undermine the ability of the press to report stories accurately. Trump didn't make your activist source lie.
The fact that many political journalists (not all) have a political agenda is not new (social media has made this fact inarguable), but if they become a proxy of operatives who peddle falsehoods, they will soon lose credibility with an even bigger swath of the country. They will have themselves to blame.
the correct name of the author is David Harsanyi
was listening to a conversation the other day- two liberals talking actually, i believe- and the news was playing in the background, and one kept turning to listen to it- and the other piped up and said “Nope- can’t stand listening to the news anymore- it’s not news any longer- it’s like listening to the national enquirer- everything is made up’
I about dropped over- So maybe there’s a little hope that even liberals might be getting sick of the lack of news integrity these days?
If we are to accept the special pleadings of journalists, we have to believe these were all honest mistakes. They may be. But a person might then ask: Why is it that every one of the dozens of honest mistakes is prejudiced in the very same way?
Succinct summary. Bookmarking.
Now THERE's a bumper sticker for you!
Maybe journalists should take courses on scientific method. Scientists are trained to use the known facts to develop contrasting hypotheses, including the null hypothesis, about what could be happening, and then they gather data which will support or invalidate the hypothesis. A hypothesis and its corresponding null will often be stated in the format, "If A is true, then we will observe B. If A is not true, then we will observe C." And if we observe neither B nor C, then we go back to the drawing board and rethink the hypotheses.
Journalists, in taking a preconception, cherry-pick only data that will support the preconception, while ignoring everything else. And they are incredibly easy to dupe, since they are primed to believe any claim that supports the preconception, even if no verifiable supporting evidence exists.
Often they will attempt to do this by contrasting their track record on truth with that of Donald Trump. Yes, Trump is a fabulist. His tweets can be destructive.
I wonder if the author of this piece even follows Trump's tweets? I have never seen where Trump fabricates anything. Mostly, he talks about the events of the day and praises people and groups for the great work they are doing towards MAGA. Sometimes, he criticizes biased journalists, criticism that is wholly deserved. I love when he calls out the journalists--I've been frustrated by watching journalists get away with lies and with destroying people and businesses for decades, and here, finally, is someone with enough backbone to stand up to their lies and deceit, instead of caving like most conservatives do.
I have no idea if he does, or doesn’t,but I am sure he hears or reads about them in the news
The Media are Sociopaths with zero sense of self.
They ACTUALLY believe the hit on their reputation started when President Trump started calling them on their BS?
We hated and mistrusted them LOOOOOONG before our wonderful President was elected.
These aren't 'mistakes' ... the 'news' (mistakes) that hurt Republicans go out with much drama - 'retractions' are quiet.
CNN and MSNBC know what they're doing.
If Trump didn't have twitter the MSM would let their lies stand with the smallest of apologies... just enough to stop them from being sued.
Anyone whose tried to pull a fake story (that hurt democrats) over the eyes of these liberal 'journalists' would discover that the old rules apply... two sources... maybe more it the story might be damaging (to democrats).
MSNBC and CNN are filled with toxic liars... period. They're not journalists - they're propagandists... liars, fools, totalitarians. An embarrassment to their profession.
Major Newspapers Avoid Strzok’s Damning ‘Insurance Policy’ Text
Newsbusters | December 14, 2017 | P.J. Gladnick
Posted on 12/15/2017 1:40:15 PM PST by PJ-Comix
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