Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Making stuff up, or ...

You make the call! Here's the Fair 'n' Balanced lede:

President Obama said he is unaware of longstanding efforts by Republican lawmakers to question survivors of the Benghazi attacks but pledged to investigate it.

There are lots of discursive paths to that particular outcome. Is the actual ... you know, press conference one of them?

 Q: And on the Benghazi question, I know pieces of the story have been litigated, and you’ve been asked about it. But there are people in your own State Department saying they’ve been blocked from coming forward, that they survived the terror attack and they want to tell their story. Will you help them come forward and just say it once and for all?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Ed, I’m not familiar with this notion that anybody’s been blocked from testifying. So what I’ll do is I will find out what exactly you’re referring to.

Alas, no. You can't take an answer and append it to a question you didn't ask. That's a form of lying.

Aside from the steady drip-drip-drip of corrosion on the immortal soul, there are pragmatic reasons why making stuff up is bad for journalism. It lowers the credibility of neighboring stories under the same brand. The audience might come to think it's what we do all the time. Impressionable young journalists in waiting might think it's what we do all the time. And it takes some of the sport out of criticizing an administration that has generally made a hash of its claims to transparency.

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Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

That last point exactly.

7:35 PM, May 01, 2013  

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