You hear a lot about “Fake News” these days. It’s basically unsubstantiated stories that a news organization of dubious reputation decides to release to the public without checking it’s sources and making sure that they have confirmation. In the end, “Fake News” ends up being wrong a lot more often than being right. Want a prime example of “Fake News” on any given day? Just open up a copy of The National Enquirer and read about the latest UFO abduction.
What was once relegated to the tabloids of our society has become mainstream in some of the most once-respected journalistic sources in the country. The New York Times, The Washington Post, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, countless other newspapers have all fallen victim to this practice. And it stinks. Donald Trump recently called out journalists at his long-awaited press conference for taking part in publishing stories about him that had been circulating behind the scenes for months. It had to do with his ties to Russia. He denied all of it, blamed it on “Fake News” and chided reporters who were touting it.
Now, I’ll be the first to say that IF this is true, the reporters need to step up and show why it’s true. What sources did you use to come up with these “facts”. If it’s not true, these journalists need to be swept out of the profession faster than the back-alley abortion doctor, Kermit Gosnell was. There is no place in journalism for unsubstantiated claims…and I don’t care which side it’s coming from. If you can’t back up your story, you don’t go with your story. It’s that simple. And just because you find one guy that is willing to tell you a tale doesn’t mean that the tale is true. The old standard is, you get three sources… two at the very least, to corroborate the story. If you get them, you go with it. If not, then it sits until you do. Woodward & Bernstein had to sit for weeks on Watergate because they didn’t have enough corroboration, and Ben Bradlee, was smart enough to know he’d be drawn and quartered if he allowed it to be published. In the end, Woodward & Bernstein were right. They did the leg work, they found the source they needed, and the rest, as they say is history.
In today’s WikiLeaks-infested market, news organizations are scrambling to come up with something…ANYTHING to delegitimize Donald Trump’s election. Unfortunately, the only thing their efforts are doing is delegitimizing themselves. Curiously enough, the one organization that actually seems to be verifying their sources and doing things right, IS WikiLeaks. They have been spot on accurate with all of their releases over the past year.
What’s the cure? The cure is simple. If a journalist, or a news organization is found guilty of spreading fake news, they lose their jobs, and their organizations and are no longer able to be granted access to anyone, anywhere. They become a second-string tabloid. That goes for the Washington Post, or the New York Times, as much as the cable news guys. It’s a one-strike-and-you’re-out policy. Screw up, and you are done for. It’s the only way to make sure they get it right. And trust me…as a former member of the media, these guys NEED to get their accusations right!
Carry on world…you’re dismissed!