Press Credibility

I've written this elsewhere, and perhaps I've nibbled at it here, too, but—prompted by one of Grim's comments in a thread below concerning NLMSM integrity—I'm offering this in full.

If the NLMSM hopes to gain any measure of credibility at all, it must do some things, and it must do them satisfactorily in the minds of observers and consumers of the NLMSM's output.

  1.  a journalist must identify at least some of his sources, rather than hanging the thesis of his article exclusively on the claims of anonymous sources
  2.  if an anonymous source refuses to be identified, the journalist must show with concrete, measurable evidence two things
          a.     the source actually exists 
          b.     why the source should be believed, given that by speaking publicly, even in anonymously, he's likely violating his terms of employment if not his oath of office

      3. if the journalist is representing the anonymous source as a whistleblower, the journalist must provide concrete, measurable evidence that the source has used up all of his employer's internal whistleblowing channels before he decided to leak to the journalist.

All of this must be done in the opening paragraph(s) of his piece, even ahead of the Who, What, Where, When that used to form the lede (but seems to no longer).

And the largest question of all:

      4. The press used to have a standard that required two on-the-record sources to corroborate the claims of a journalist's anonymous sources. The journalist's editor must explain why he's chosen to walk away from that standard of integrity.

Eric Hines


Roy Lofquist said...

Do you have any idea how many imaginary friends will lose their jobs over this?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

There you go being reasonable again. We've warned you about this.

E Hines said...

Guess you'll have to impeach me.

Eric Hines

Dad29 said...

Nonetheless, They Persist.......

Now CNN is libeling a bunch of Catholic boys (and "libel" is the word used by Ann Althouse, a LawProf). The WHOLE story is very different from the half-story CNN used. Those boys were being verbally assaulted by some nearby black "ministers" (who are apparently revolutionaries) and a known Indian activist who regularly starts fights and then cries "racism."

Nevertheless, CNN persists.

E Hines said...

Well, you know. The YouTube video that gives the lie to the NLMSM's slur by putting the event in context runs 1 3/4 hours--too long for a pressman's stunted attention span.

Even more shamefully, Covington Catholic High School and the Covington Diocese jumped on the bandwagon and apologized for the students' behavior--without bothering to check the facts. Apparently they're too timid to rock the PC boat.

Eric Hines

Christopher B said...

Eric - There are a couple shorter ones coming out that can be shared

Rod Dreher has a post up about it that links one about 9 minutes long, along with a written account and Rod's own analysis (via Instapundit)

Short video embedded in. Tweet showing the drummers moving into the group of kids

The American Spectator has a couple articles up. This one is by Roger Kimball and links the other. I think both include the video Dreher commented on.

Grim said...

Now CNN is libeling a bunch of Catholic boys (and "libel" is the word used by Ann Althouse, a LawProf).

Yeah, Jimbo hit this one early. He's clearly enjoying himself.

E Hines said...


Yeah, those are good, too.

There's also a report out about one of the Native American participants disputing the account. His perspective is that the students started out sounding disrespectful (his interpretation), he approached and began singing the the AIM anthem while beating his drum, and the students wound up singing along with him.

All being carefully ignored by the NLMSM.

Eric Hines

Anonymous said...

Eric, Eric, Eric,

There you go again! You are trying to push small-town newspaper ethics on our national news!

Seriously, most local newspapers refuse to publish accusations of misconduct without the name of the accuser. The little guys actually have higher ethical standards than the big ones.