• Credibility Tips for Journalists

    December 13, 2016

    Tags: ,
    Posted in: Democracy, Post-Constitution America, Trump

    The working journalists of America sh*t the bed with their election coverage this year.

    For the most part, the media as a whole fetishized the Clinton candidacy (first woman ever! most experienced candidate ever! dynasty!) and treated Trump as an oaf when they weren’t calling him Hitler and parading any person who wished to accuse him of something before the cameras. That pattern continues now, though the accusations have changed from sexual harassment to near-treason on behalf of Putin.

    Alongside this circus were scum stories on all facets of the campaign attributed to… no one. “Sources close to the campaign said,” or “Officials who could not be identified” and so forth. It almost gave the impression reporters were just making stuff up. Alongside that were many media outlets that simply reprinted others’ stories, so that a piece of journalistic garbage flew around the Internet without anyone asking any questions or verifying the contents.

    It was sad. The result was the media at large has little credibility left with the public. When people have a hard time figuring out whether or not you’re reporting fake news, you have a problem.

    So, as a public service, here are some credibility tips for journalists:

    — Don’t just write apocalyptic stories warning what Trump might do (impose tariffs, restrict abortion) without also telling us what would have to actually happen for the change to take place. Will he simply need to sign an Executive Order? Get Congress to pass a law? Take a case to the Supreme Court? Because screeching about something that might happen without letting us know how realistic that happening is is poor work.

    — Along with the above: go easy on the might happen stuff. Don’t whisk your readers from a phone call with Taiwan’s president to war with China by this weekend. Think twice before publishing any headline that includes “Trump Might…”

    — On a similar note, try to work in some of the following to your pieces: context, named sources, perspective, explanation, less undergrad simple conjecture. So, for example, in a story about the Million Woman March being denied a permit to protest on the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial, mention that (to date) no one has been issued any permits, it’s too early. Tell us it has been since at least the 1980s that a large scale protest permit has been issued for the Memorial. Explain that the decision to issue/refuse is made by the National Park Service, which is under the control of Obama, not Trump. Note that since the 1980 Reagan inauguration protest space at the ceremony has consistently been reduced. That makes a much better article than a headline screaming “Trump Denies Women’s Right to Protest.”

    — In fact, more fact and less bombast in general is a good thing. Separate fact from conjecture from opinion, old journalism school style.

    — Remember the words alleged and accused. Use them not only for criminals, but when an (alleged) victim makes a statement claiming a politician or celebrity assaulted them.

    — Alleged and accused are especially important words when reporting on hate crimes. Reports of hate crimes stir up a lot of explosive motions. Report responsibility. Victim shaming is bad; exercising healthy journalistic inquiry is essential. It is your job.

    — And those anonymous sources. There are important roles for anonymous sources, but not to report smears, gossip, innuendo, political speculation, or to play into political manipulation. If you don’t have on-record sources, and you’re not reporting on the next Edward Snowden, check to see if you have a story you can report responsibility.

    — Question the information, less the source, but stay awake that all sources have an agenda. If you don’t know what it is and how you are playing into it, stop and figure that out before you go to print.

    — Control your partisanship. Journalists, remember a few years ago when Fox became so grossly overtly one-sided, and how little you thought of them? That’s what a lot of people think of you now.

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

  • Recent Comments

    • chuck said...


      American Exceptionalism once again. Thank you Peter. Truth is good.

      12/13/16 8:35 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      Peter said:
      “Alongside this circus were scum stories on all facets of the campaign attributed to… no one. “Sources close to the campaign said,” or “Officials who could not be identified” and so forth. It almost gave the impression reporters were just making stuff up. ”

      I’m so old I remember listening to Edward R. Murrow on the radio. Especially during the McCarthy witchhunt.
      And then, Walter Chronkite on TV. Especially Vietnam..and JFK.

      And reading the news in newspapers where journalists were loath to publish ANYTHING without their sources NAME. After all..they knew what anyone with one neuron between their ears knows.. if you don’t name a source..you can’t fact prove any claims.

      And then came Watergate. And Iran/Contra. And the Pentagon Papers. Everything changed.

      However, in this day and age of whistleblowers, who go to journalists to disclose massive illegality, war crimes, etc etc, I understand why sometimes, not identifying a source is important. However, it’s a double edged sword. By not identifying government “leakers”, how can anyone trust the information is true? And that is exactly what is happening today. This whole “Russian” thing is based on info that can’t be proved..unless the government declassifies the data. I mean..the whole election now depends on it. Even the electors are demanding to see whatever the CIA has now. No matter what happens from now till the day the electors decide who will be president..things are going to get …


      12/13/16 11:20 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      Well I’ll be! Peter sums up in a tweet…what I just tried to say in a hundred words. Found it on Thomas Drakes twitter page…

      Peter Van Buren ‏@WeMeantWell Dec 11

      “This whole thing really does boil down to DNC emails few voters read that the Clinton people said were fake anyway. That’s the proof?”

      indeed, Peter.

      On the other hand.. if they are “fake”, then why is her campaign manager demanding the Electors get to see whatever the CIA has “proving” the Russian’s did the hacking???????????????

      This shit is getting too fucking weird.

      12/13/16 11:35 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      Speaking of weird.. I still can’t figure out why Lorretta Lynne hasn’t charged that scumsucking c**t Debbie Wasserman, et al, for what she and others did to sabotage Sanders. It would seem to me.. what they did was fuck with the primary election..which to me, seems like there must be a statute to charge them with. Even if it’s for… criminal stupidity. 🙂

      12/13/16 11:41 AM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Pitch, did Debbie break up with you? Anti-Semite? TY

      12/13/16 11:44 AM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Snowden, Manning, Assange, and others are Russian agents. America is #1 (repeat, and wave multiple flags, as seen on T.V.). Have a nice day.

      12/13/16 11:49 AM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Can Obama pardon Barry?

      12/13/16 11:52 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      On a side note..

      Speaking of laughingstock….


      Trump missed his true calling..although Bill Hicks nailed it…

      In fact, Hicks nailed EVERYTHING. God I miss his shit.

      12/13/16 12:25 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      chuck said…

      “Pitch, did Debbie break up with you? Anti-Semite? TY”

      Seriously dood. Did you forget your meds today??

      Anti semite??? Fuck you. But I DO fucking hate that scum sucking murdering pile of shit, Israel. Or any other country that does same. Like the US. It’s not about their religion. It’s what they DO.. like to Palestine.

      As for that c**t Wasserman. This is when I decided she was a no good lying sack of shit….


      12/13/16 12:38 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      BDS !

      12/13/16 2:12 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...


      Be safe all. It’s Tuesday.

      12/13/16 2:15 PM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...



      12/13/16 2:23 PM | Comment Link

    • Bruce said...


      12/13/16 3:39 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Well we all know now that the NYTimes is the official US government’s propaganda disseminator. I was hoping for the National Enquirer. NYTimes now claims Russia was a partner in defeating Hillary. That’s the news! Believe it or you are unpatriotic. Expect a personal all from one of representatives to get you in line.

      12/13/16 5:29 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      John Poole said…

      “NYTimes now claims Russia was a partner in defeating Hillary. That’s the news! Believe it or you are unpatriotic. ”

      This whole story stinks. What no one has bothered to notice is.. HOW did the FBI know the DNC email system was under attack? According to the story, the FBI CALLED the DNC numerous times. CALLED… unfuckingbelievable.

      Moreover, the whole thing allegedly started with a FAKE Google notification? How in the hell did the FBI know the DNC was getting fake Google notifications? No one has even mentioned what the FBI told the person at the DNC either. WTF would the FBI tell them… uh.. “Hello.. this is the FBI. We want to inform you to be on the lookout for a fake Google notification. K?”

      Instead, some staffer gets the fake notification, and it looks suspicious. NO MENTION of they were informed? DUH!!

      Moreover… since the DNC email CONTENT hadn’t been released by Wikileaks YET.. why didn’t the FBI contact the RNC too? Afterall.. all they knew is one of the political party email system was.. under attack???? or whatever.. since the FBI had no idea this was directly aimed at the DNC.. why not the RNC as well???? Another thing too.

      Since Trump was..allegedly.. receiving briefings from the IC.. why wasn’t Trump informed as well?? It’s obvious he wasn’t.. because now he’s currently claiming the thought that the Russians were the hackers is fucking ridiculous!!

      All I know is somthing stinks in this whole story. This whole thing is beginning to look like a cover up. Or something is even bigger. ..just like Watergate. Or..given even Clinton’s claiming the emails were FAKE, if they were, then why did her campaign manager DEMAND the electors get a CLASSIFIED breifing about the “Russian” hackers!!!!!

      sheeezusHfuckingchrist. You couldn’t make this shit up.

      12/14/16 5:54 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      On a side note.. if you buy shit online.. guess what. Now every retailer that sells online, BY LAW, now has to notify the state in which you live, EVERYTHING YOU BUY. fuck.


      The ghost of Orwell must be in shock. All I know is this country is on the verge of becoming a Totalitarian regime.. on Jan 10th.

      Given Trumps transition team just sent a list of 74 questions to the Dept. of Energy, wanting to know everything about WHO and WHAT and WHEN of anything connected to CLIMATE CHANGE. Thank god they told Trump to fuck off!!

      However…the day Trump takes the oath, we will witness the beginning of something that will make the McCarthy era look like a childs play.
      Moreover, given who Trump has appointed..excuse me Mitch…. Mr Moron Rick P as head of the Dept of Energy, you can bet your sweet bippy anything connected to Climate Change will be thrown out the window. And the scientists heads are exploding cause they know it too….

      By the time Trump is done, this country will redefine the term Totalitarian.

      12/14/16 6:14 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      My trusted source says it is the dark forces in the DNC that are diabolically working with the Russians, and that it picked Hillarious over Sanders because she was the only candidate who could lose to Trump. The Russians can blackmail or bribe Trump to do its bidding.

      12/14/16 7:30 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      ok ok ok.. this is it. The absolute, 100% certifiable proof Murika is the Dumbest Country on the Planet. Even the rich a dumber than a fucking rock…


      bartender.. gimme a shot of 100prf FacePalm.. on the rocks..BWHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

      12/14/16 8:38 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...



      Long day yesterday.


      No sweat. Don’t really agree with Perry on a lot of things.

      Btw… The way dept of Energy is set up, its lawful for them the tell Trump to fuck off.
      A guy I know, who knows a guy, who knows a cat, who’s best friends with a dog…. Might know the dept of Energy,little know nothing agency , with the HUGE budget… And I meaning FUCKING HUGE BUDGET….and all sorts of really niffty powers… Including the use of lethal force… BIGTIME lethal force… At hundreds of sites…
      They have supervision and absolute authority over most state and federal agencies and offices..
      They also have the right of suspension of habis corpus.

      You see, my friend Pitchfork, department of energy…. Has control and authority over not just energy…. But nuclear power plants…but of the nuclear weapons as well.

      So, instead of a texas oil guy being in charge of greenhouse gas emissions… He has control of ALL the nuclear bombs.

      So…… Drinking yet?

      Btw… Example for you. 6 or 7 years ago. The mountain sent 12 weapons to Shreveport… The home of Cybercommand..(fucking stupid… ANYTHING can be hacked…(trust me of this).. Well the weapons got there…. Complete with codes…. And…

      Shreveport never knew they were coming.

      So… Basically…. They had 12 “Broken Arrow” situations……

      What’s scarier… That they had 12 unaccounted for Nuclear weapons….

      Or that it happens so often…..

      That they have a term for it?????


      12/14/16 10:25 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...



      Want verification……it was BIG news around the area for a while.

      Sorry…. Longer than 6 or 7 years…. Sept 7th. 2007.



      12/14/16 10:31 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...


      Ummmmm….. Pitchfork…..

      Pardon if I’m misunderstanding your comments……

      But….. You are basically saying that either the FBI was covertly monitoring the DNC and the RNC….


      That the FBI did the hacks….


      Also…. As a point of clarification….. This is the same FBI … That works with the NSA…. The NSA that recently got HACKED????


      Come on…… Our government does not work like that.
      (not as long as we look at the pretty flowers like we are supposed to)
      (insert sarcasm tone at will ).


      12/14/16 10:38 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...


      Pitchfork said,

      “ok ok ok.. this is it. The absolute, 100% certifiable proof Murika is the Dumbest Country on the Planet. Even the rich a dumber than a fucking rock…

      You know….. That’s a HELL of a GOOD idea….. Its not a “weapon”…. Nice strap to carry it around….perfect size to throw through a window…. Bash an attacker …. Helpful when your organizing your local RIOT. Easy to carry around when your in DC. (if you can find it again) reusable… So its a totally “Green” product… (the we hate leather people will go apeshit over the bag, but you can’t make everyone happy ).


      12/14/16 10:48 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      Mitch, I followed that story until it disappeared into the aether. Bizarre is a fucking understatement. What was really weird at the time, I found(by accident), a report that showed various electronics in the Nuclear b o m b s, had chips manufactured in China, and were discovered to have software, that could be manipulated remotely. Of course.. to ease the readers mind, those chips were “allegedly” replaced with USA made chips.

      Speaking of bizarre, I came across something this morning that made me sick. Wallstreet was a massive traitor, during WW11, with the help of the State Department(Allen Dulles), the Bank of England and the Bank for International Settlements. The capitalists were alive and well doing “bidness” with the Nazi’s while Allied soldiers were dying in the thousands.


      And it’s no different today. Same shit, different year.
      The BID is alive and well…. making BILLIONS in tax free profits every stinking year.

      God I despise these bastards.

      btw, thanks for the info on the Energy Department. Always figured they had a lot of power.. no pun intended.

      12/14/16 10:51 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      Mitch said…

      “Ummmmm….. Pitchfork…..
      Pardon if I’m misunderstanding your comments……

      But….. You are basically saying that either the FBI was covertly monitoring the DNC and the RNC….”

      Well how else would the FBI know? The weird part is.. what did the FBI TELL the DNC?? I mean, the DNC got a fake Google email. How would the FBI know it was coming? If even that is what the FBI was warning them about. That’s the part that doesn’t make sense.


      That the FBI did the hacks….


      No, I’m ASKING HOW the FBI knew the DNC was being attacked..BEFORE the event occured!!!! Which was by a FAKE Google email. The only way I see is the FBI was monitoring. But who else are or were they monitoring.. at this very moment???????????

      I didn’t say anything about the FBI doing the hacks. Although..hmmm. But that doesn’t make sense to me. …er.. on the other hand.. WTF? This is getting weirder by the moment.

      However, there is so many unanswered questions about this, I’ve spent 3 hours this morning trying to answer them. To no avail either. All I know is something stinks about this entire story.

      12/14/16 11:03 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...



      What the FBI probably told the DNC is…..

      We know what you did…. And…. We will take care of your staffer who leaked the info….get your excuses ready….
      Now…. About our budget after your in office, Hill……

      What???? No extra 50 trillion bucks….

      Ok,,, that’s fine…. Let the server investigation resume…..

      (or words to that effect)


      12/14/16 11:10 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...


      it does not matter where the chips were made…. if its electronics…. anything over a old toaster level….
      it can be hacked…. period.

      and someday… people will wake up and realize that to be true

      and if trump gets us in a war….shit will happen. .. that not even the best scify writers could have imagined.

      12/14/16 11:20 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      Mitch said…
      “(or words to that effect)”

      Yeah, well I’m still trying to find out.

      And then there’s the story that an INSIDER leaked them. Don’t have the link, but I read yesterday that a staffer(unnamed of course) was the leaker.

      it does not matter where the chips were made…. if its electronics…. anything over a old toaster level….
      it can be hacked…. period. ”

      At some point, humanity will spit on the day digital was invented. Especially with the coming AI/robot revolution.


      The good news is.. AI may take over management of Wallstreet too. 🙂

      Although, there’s a good chance the whole planet might be destroyed before the robots take over…


      Yeah, well the planet ain’t prepared for the comet heading our way on Jan 10th, either. Insert two rolling eyes smiley here.

      12/14/16 11:54 AM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...


      I saw.

      There’s a pair of radio dj’s in east texas.

      One of them swears Google is ‘skynet’. Terminator movie reference.

      Figure it this way.

      Here at home…. We are prepared for coments, electronic revolutions, etc….

      Were very ‘country’ here. As in my closet neighbor is a quarter mile away.

      Adopted the attitude a long time ago…. You just can not fix stupid…

      And…. The saying that says….

      “life gets easier once you realize 80 percent of the people you meet are bat shit crazy”


      12/14/16 12:11 PM | Comment Link

    • Glaubwürdigkeitstipps für Journalisten | N8Waechter.info said...


      […] >>> zum englischsprachigen Original-Beitrag […]

      12/16/16 4:22 AM | Comment Link

    • Glaubwürdigkeitstipps für Journalisten – das Erwachen der Valkyrjar said...


      […] >>> zum englischsprachigen Original-Beitrag […]

      12/16/16 10:00 AM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...


      Published today – the NY Times is advertising ways whistle blowers can contact them and supposedly protect their anonymity.

      Funny how, after ignoring whistle blowers or skewering them, during the Obama administration — the papers want whistle blowers to suddenly contact them?? Gee, what changed all of a sudden? Will the Times go back and cover whistle blowers from this past admin too??


      12/19/16 11:04 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...


      More like – they will hold any story and if passes a political litmus test, then forward the info to the government for their review like with Snowden

      12/19/16 11:05 PM | Comment Link

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