Guest Opinion published June 30, 2017, Siskiyou Daily News
Is anyone curious about what the current journalism standard is to decide if a story is sufficiently verified to become “news”? Most of the media today are satisfied if the sources for a story are two “officials” who choose to remain anonymous because they “are not authorized to speak on the matter.”
“Two anonymous officials” seems a bit arbitrary. How about just “one anonymous official”? Or maybe drop the “official” part?
The media should probably drop any fact-checking requirement whatsoever. Oops, my bad. They already have.
I will give you a factual example from my personal knowledge, which you are free to believe. Or not.
I was sitting at the bar at the Rex Club the other night at about 12:45 am. I was sitting next to this guy who seemed to be really smart. He said, authoritatively, “Donald trump is a liar.”
I asked, “Do you really think so?”
He replied, “Yes, and Hillary is also a liar.”
I realized immediately that I had a major scoop. This was verified news. The guy sitting next to me seemed smart. And I was only on my second drink, if I remembered correctly.
I needed to get it to the media immediately. Back in the day the reporters would make a mad rush to the payphones, whatever they were. But what was the best way to do that now? “I’ll Tweet it,” I thought. But I remembered that I had only three Twitter followers; I did the math and decided it wouldn’t go viral quick enough.
So I emailed it to NPR, Fox, and the New York Times. It went viral immediately.
That morning NPR reported, “Trump is a liar!!! This according to an unnamed but reliable source who was quoting another unnamed but equally reliable source from our country’s heartland.”
Then I watched Fox News, which reported, “Breaking news, Hillary is a liar!!! We have this from a very credible and well respected source from our nation’s most down-to-earth rural community.”
I checked out the on-line edition of the New York Times. “This just in. Trump is a bigger liar than Hillary. Trump was named first in a liar’s list published by a prestigious journalist from the SDN, one of the western world’s most respected news outlets.”