…to back up her claims — or else wait to publish them. It’s simply not clear whether the journalists who rushed to press with Reade’s story understood the risk she was taking or cared enough about her to do the painstaking work of backing …
Jude Ellison S. Doyle
I don’t know if the press actually “rushed” to get this story out. A journalist waits, checks facts, and validates sources before going to press. I don’t think many people know or understand the many levels of vetting a controversial story goes through before it’s published. Too many assume that it’s as simple as blogging it online.
This is especially important now that there are organizations like Project Veritas that plant unreliable sources just to “catch” journalists.
We have to be careful not to label all journalists and media organizations as the same. Unless a journalist publishes a story or memoir about how much verification was involved in a controversial story, we have to be careful not to assume that journalism failed.
Consider what happened during the Monica Lewinsky story. Newsweek held the story back because they want to verify their sources before accusing the president of having an affair with an intern. Matt Drudge broke the story on his website before it was adequately checked, claiming that the media were covering it up to protect Clinton. Drudge didn’t have anything to lose by publishing it, even if it might have been false. Newsweek was trying to protect its credibility.
In an age where so many media outlets are accused of making up stories and sources, they have to walk a fine line between getting the story right and getting the story out.