Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Too Little, Too Late

The New York Timespublic editor admits that running with a story that starts out saying Hillary Clinton is being investigated for “criminal” behavior in regards to her private e-mail account and classified documents and then updating and revising the account numerous times before admitting there’s no real there there is bad journalism.

First, consider the elements. When you add together the lack of accountability that comes with anonymous sources, along with no ability to examine the referral itself, and then mix in the ever-faster pace of competitive reporting for the web, you’ve got a mistake waiting to happen. Or, in this case, several mistakes.

Reporting a less sensational version of the story, with a headline that did not include the word “criminal,” and continuing to develop it the next day would have been a wise play. Better yet: Waiting until the next day to publish anything at all.

Losing the story to another news outlet would have been a far, far better outcome than publishing an unfair story and damaging The Times’s reputation for accuracy.

What’s more, when mistakes inevitably happen, The Times needs to be much more transparent with readers about what is going on. Just revising the story, and figuring out the corrections later, doesn’t cut it.

That’s all well and good, but the lie has already made it halfway around the world.  You can bet that we’re going to see GOP attack ads on Hillary Clinton that include the words “criminal investigation” before the end of the week.

3 barks and woofs on “Too Little, Too Late

  1. How about the MSM adopt a three day waiting period on reporting any allegation against Mrs Clinton?

    That way they can verify the information, and not embarrass….who am I kidding? They’re gonna run with every ‘scandal’ they can print. The 1994 Christmas tree was one of the better rumors to run rampant…and likely weak sauce compared to what we’ll see if she becomes POTUS.

  2. There’s an “Editors’ Note” on Page 2 of my daily print copy today that offers a moment by moment account of how they bobbled the story. A sort of “This is how it happened…” with no hint of apology, only the timeline. But I do notice what I perceive as a form of penance in the Times’ coverage of HRC which is now expansive and positive. Good words about her ideas about expanding new forms of energy supply as well as her taking on the quick and dirty traders on Wall Street. I don’t expect it to displace the eager Hillary-haters’ glee in having an “issue”, but maybe it makes the Editors feel better.

  3. She is an intelligent, accomplished woman, a Democrat and the wife of a very popular and well liked ex-President. What more do they need to bash and drag her down?

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