Monday, February 20, 2017

Mainstream media errors in the Trump era: Your catalogue of the media's bias-fueled failure-fest

Whether through bias, sloppiness, or sheer panic, newsrooms have dropped their standards since President Trump was sworn in as 45th president of the United States.
Instead of adjusting adeptly to Trump's easy relationship with the truth and his tendency to abuse members of media, by dialing up their standards, a significant number of journalists have tripped over themselves recently to repeat every bit of gossip and half-cocked rumor involving the new president and his administration.
The rush to get these supposed scoops out in the open, whether in print, on television or on social media, has, of course, produced a rash of shoddy reporting.
Now this isn't to say that all coverage of this new administration has been slipshod. Rather, it's to say that there has been a disturbing and unusually large number of stories that have turned out either to be overhyped, inconclusive, half-true or flat-out incorrect. There have also been a number of reports whose sourcing is so thin, that to believe them would be to take a major leap of faith.
The one thing that these reports have in common is that they fail to provide readers with a clear and indisputably accurate picture of what is really going on at White House. The press's most important role is to shine a light on those in power. Bad reporting only muddies the waters, and it gives powerful people more room to do as they please. After all, whom are you going to believe: the guy at the top or the newsroom with a recent track record of botched reporting?
We didn't get to the point people find the press less credible than the Trump administration by some freak accident.
We're keeping a database of all these media misfires as they occur, and we'll be updating this list whenever some new bit of crummy journalism appears. Depending on whether reporters settle down and treat their supposed scoops with greater care, this database may turn into a four- or eight-year project.
Starting in order of most recent, here is our best effort at a complete list of the shoddiest media misfires since the Jan. 20 inauguration:
Feb. 18: Swede Emotions
The Claim: "Trump Cites Non-Existent Sweden Attack," "Trump Appears to Reference Non-Existent Terror Incident in Sweden."
The Facts: Trump never actually claimed there was a terrorist attack in Sweden.
Here's what he said Saturday:
Here's the bottom line. We've got to keep our country safe. You look at what's happening. We've got to keep our country safe. You look at what's happening in Germany, you look at what's happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this. Sweden. They took in large numbers. They're having problems like they never thought possible.

You look at what's happening in Brussels. You look at what's happening all over the world. Take a look at Nice. Take a look at Paris. We've allowed thousands and thousands of people into our country and there was no way to vet those people. There was no documentation. There was no nothing. So we're going to keep our country safe.
His remarks are certainly confusing, and his references to Sweden are ambiguous. Trump clearly seems to have alluded to real terror events, including recent attacks in Brussels and Nice, France. But there still isn't enough clarity in his speech Saturday for newsrooms to claim he cited a specific, and non-existent, attack in Sweden.
It's possible that Trump, an avid cable news-watcher, was referring to aFox New segment that aired on the evening of Feb. 17. That specific segment focused on Sweden's open door immigration policy, and recent report alleging the country's recent spike in crime is correlated directly to the number of refugees it has admitted.
Again, as is often the case with this president, his comments are jumbled and confusing. He could've been referring to a non-existent terrorist attack, or he could've been referring to a Fox News segment that aired the night before. It's unclear.
At any rate, newsrooms don't have nearly enough information to report with certainty that Trump created a terrorist attack from thin air.
The Claim: "Trump weighs mobilizing Nat Guard for immigrationroundups."
The SourceThe Associated Press.
The Facts: There is a lot wrong with this story. From overselling the leaked Department of Homeland Security memo on which the entire report hinges, to failing to provide proof that Trump was even aware of draft proposal, readers would be wise to remain skeptical of the AP report.

To be clear, the draft memo mentioned in the story is definitely real, as confirmed by DHS officials. It's just that it doesn't say what the AP reported.
Read the rest at:

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