Fake News: Why Ethics Matter

fake news

It has been a while since we discussed Fake News, and why it matters. Our investigational manager, Justin Farrell did a great piece recently about how Fake News Master, Marc Fischer, from the Washington Post, did a hit piece on OANN. OANN was nice enough to thank us for bringing the truth to light on it, and for reporting the story as we saw it. The Thank You Piece was a great example of highlighting the painstaking process Justin went through to make sure he had the story right. I have addressed the concept of Fake News from a standpoint of straight up bullshit and undeclared bias ad nauseam, and it is probably not a time for me to revisit those points. There are two other types of Fake News that should be addressed right now, both require a discussion about Journalistic Ethics.

  1. Anonymous Sources: In the past it was always acceptable to use anonymous sources when we were dealing with the media. Anonymous sources were basically a sign of professional courtesy given to the media by readers, acknowledging that  the reader believed in the credibility of the news source enough to take their word for it that the source was legit. This was long before the Fake News Era. At this point, so many news sources have been discredited, and political motives exposed that the majority of the country is not willing to give the media that much latitude to cite anonymous sources anymore and the media should take note. If your story is based on the whisperings of a single anonymous source, than maybe the news outfit should just hold off on writing it for a little while. I get it, the 24 hour news cycle demands constant content, but at the same time, is it worth losing your audience and the credibility of the media in order to get in that next gotcha?
  2. Investigative Ethics: I didn’t think this was as bug of an issue as it is lately, but more and more evidence is cropping up that reporters are using less than ethical tactics to gain information for a story. There is a reason why this has always been a breech of journalistic ethics. It is the same reason that it is not allowed in police investigations. Offering nefarious rewards for inside information, leads to the propagation of bullshit…period. What a source will do when promised nude photos of the journalist, when the journalist threatens to dox their personal data or threatens to tell their families about x rated conversations does not make the media better. It makes us Anthony Wiener. It also shows a tendency for long term sacrifice of ethics for short term gain of clicks. This is also destroying the news, and much more, it is destroying the alternative media which has always suffered from credibility issues.

Ethics are important, and it seems that many journalists of today have not even decided to explore the topic let along implement them. This has to stop. The media is not a place to play Jackass or to run around acting like a THOT in order to expose people being pigs. Journalism is at a crossroads, and it is up to all of us to pick up the torch from the failed Main Stream Media.