If Americans didn’t want Fake News, one of two things would happen: Either the media would stop using anonymous sources, or else the Washington Post, New York Times, CNN and others would go out of business.
These Fake News stories have become so blatant that the public (and the rest of the media) have to share a large part of the blame for giving them any credibility.
A stunning case presented itself today (Sept. 25, 2019) when the Washington Post ran a story that the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, threatened to resign because the White Houses didn’t want to let him testify fully before Congress later this week.
This was “according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with the matter,” we were told by the Post. Of course, none of those “sources” was named and there was no way to verify the story, nor had the DNI or the White House been contacted by the Post before publication.
But if you were watching President Trump’s press conference at the United Nations later in the day, you watched him announce that the “Amazon Washington Post” had lied about the story.
How did the president know it was a lie? Because Maguire had issued a statement saying so.
“At no time have I considered resigning my position since assuming this role on Aug. 16, 2019. I have never quit anything in my life, and I am not going to start now.”
Moreover, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham issued her own denial on Twitter:
“This is actually not true. And we would have gone on the record to say that if the @washingtonpost had given us more than 6 minutes (literally) to respond.”
That is pathetic. As a lifelong journalist J am embarrassed that such reporting is endorsed by a major newspaper. It is unethical to run a story without giving the principals a real chance to respond contemporaneously.
But as long as people keep treating the Washington Post and New York Times as legitimate news organizations rather than as political scandal sheets, nothing is going to change. This goes for the politicians who agree to be interviewed by them as well as anyone who buys them.
I also want to again remind conservatives that the Drudge Report is no longer a reliable source of news. The Fake News report was still listed on Drudge a full eight hours after it had been discredited, and without any accompanying report debunking it. Drudge looks bloodthirsty for an impeachment based on the front page today:
As for the Post, they eventually (not quickly) included the denials by Grisham and Maguire, but followed them with this arrogant nonsense:
After these statements were issued, Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron said, “We stand by the story.”
How the hell do you stand by a story that has no source willing to speak publicly when the principals both deny the story’s truth? There’s only one answer — you are not interested in the truth, but in sensational attack journalism (aka Fake News).
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