Sharyl Attkisson is a real journalist who provides answers to questions — here she is writing at The Hill:
Something strange has happened to the news. We’ve largely suspended our normal ethical practices and standards when it comes to covering President Trump.
Maybe it doesn’t seem strange to the usual crowd: the Washington and New York-centric media, political figures, insiders and pundits. They act like it’s not happening. Or maybe they don’t even notice. But to a lot of fair-minded, ordinary Americans, it’s just odd.
A good example is the recent rash of stories about President Trumpreportedly wanting the Justice Department to investigate two of his political nemeses: former presidential candidate Hillary Clintonand former FBI Director James Comey.
I’m not as smart as a lot of people, but my initial reaction was a big “So what?” First, it’s unsurprising that Trump would have wanted his Justice Department to investigate two officials widely accused of wrongdoing. Second, even Trump’s critics acknowledge his right to ask for such investigations. Third, the investigations were never ordered.
Yet the story, reported by The New York Times — and therefore guaranteed to be copied by news outlets internationally — portrayed the big “news” as if it were proof of politically motivated interference of the worst kind.
I’m not arguing that the allegations, if deemed credible, aren’t worthy of examination. And Trump’s critics have every right to have their views heard on the national news. But the fairness that once was routinely expected in news stories is notably absent.
Here are four ways the story falls short of upholding routine journalistic standards.
- The story relies on anonymous sources. Risky to begin with, creating international headlines on the basis of nameless, faceless people becomes even more perilous considering how many leaked stories by anonymous sources have proven factually incorrect.
Read more of “More questions than answers in too many Trump stories” at The Hill
Image credit: www.thehill.com.