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More Questions Than Answers In Too Many Trump Stories Rate Topic: -----

#1 User is offline   Liz 

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  Posted 26 November 2018 - 02:45 PM

More Questions Than Answers In Too Many Trump Stories

The Hill
By Sharyl Attkisson, opinion contributor
11/25/18 08:00 AM EST

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill

Excerpt:

Something strange has happened to the news. Weíve largely suspended our normal ethical practices and standards when it comes to covering President Trump.

Maybe it doesnít seem strange to the usual crowd: the Washington and New York-centric media, political figures, insiders and pundits. They act like itís not happening. Or maybe they donít even notice. But to a lot of fair-minded, ordinary Americans, itís just odd.

A good example is the recent rash of stories about President Trump reportedly wanting the Justice Department to investigate two of his political nemeses: former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and former FBI Director James Comey.

Iím not as smart as a lot of people, but my initial reaction was a big ďSo what??First, itís unsurprising that Trump would have wanted his Justice Department to investigate two officials widely accused of wrongdoing. Second, even Trumpís 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 ďnews?as if it were proof of politically motivated interference of the worst kind.

Iím not arguing that the allegations, if deemed credible, arenít worthy of examination. And Trumpís 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.

  • The story lacks appropriate context. When the only way to tell a story is through anonymous sources, their self-interests and identities must be described with as much specificity as possible so viewers can weight the allegations. Do the sources oppose Trump? Do they work in the White House? Were they fired? Disgruntled? Could they be trying to cover up their own wrongdoing? How are they in position to know what they claim to know? None of this information was provided. Likewise, the story failed to include the context that the main subject, former White House counsel Donald McGahn, had repeatedly clashed with Trump and was ultimately forced out of his job.

  • There are numerous instances of missing attribution. If a reporter didnít personally witness an event, he generally should not present allegations or facts as if true and verified; they should be attributed to their source. Hereís one paragraph full of examples of missing attribution:

    ďThe lawyer, Donald F. McGahn II, rebuffed the president, saying that he had no authority to order a prosecution. Mr. McGahn said that while he could request an investigation, that too could prompt accusations of abuse of power. To underscore his point, Mr. McGahn had White House lawyers write a memo for Mr. Trump warning that if he asked law enforcement to investigate his rivals, he could face a range of consequences, including possible impeachment.?br />
  • In a news piece, the reporters?opinions shouldnít be reported as facts. But in this story, after accepting one-sided, leaked information as true, the writers add their own opinions. Hereís one example:

ďThe encounter was one of the most blatant examples yet of how Mr. Trump views the typically independent Justice Department as a tool to be wielded against his political enemies.?br />
Unasked and unanswered questions

It seems to me, smart and fair reporting wouldnít only report the allegations against Trump, but also would examine competing questions.

*snip*

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#2 User is offline   MontyPython 

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Posted 26 November 2018 - 02:57 PM

Sharyl Attkisson is a RARE gem; one of the very last of an almost-extinct breed: An honest journalist.

:yes:
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#3 User is offline   grimreefer 

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Posted 26 November 2018 - 02:58 PM

Quote

A good example is the recent rash of stories about President Trump reportedly wanting the Justice Department to investigate two of his political nemeses: former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and former FBI Director James Comey.

Iím not as smart as a lot of people, but my initial reaction was a big ďSo what??/div>

I got up a few mornings ago with AFN news on in the background and heard the hyperventilating about this. I was almost late for work waiting to hear them explain why this was an affront to the Constitution, the end of democracy and the murder of Lady Justice. :shrug: Never got an answer... just more frothing at the mouth outrage that Trump is President.
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#4 User is offline   LongKnife 

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Posted 26 November 2018 - 03:43 PM

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But the fairness that once was routinely expected in news stories is notably absent.

Fairness in news stories has been absent for years.
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#5 User is offline   usapatriot 

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Posted 26 November 2018 - 04:53 PM

View PostLongKnife, on 26 November 2018 - 03:43 PM, said:

Fairness in news stories has been absent for years.

Yes, the last time where fairness was wide spread was in the 1920s. From the 1930s on, the press has been full on leftie. It reminds me of a "blooper" from then Senator John F. Kennedy. A reporter was interviewing him and he said something completely stupid and incoherent, after which, Kennedy looked at the reporter and said, "let's try that again". Dutifully, the reporter told the camera crew to start over and the reporter asked the questions again and Kennedy did much better. The later recording is what went on the news and the former was mothballed for 50 years until someone, somehow got to include it in their show (I can't remember what the show was about). Can you imagine any reporter allowing say then Vice President Nixon to have a "do over"? Or any conservative then or since then for that matter? Ha! Not a chance in Hell.
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