Never Mind “Fake News,” How Do We Protect Ourselves From “Fake Newsweek” And An Industry That Won’t Police Itself?

madam-president

From The Washington Examiner:

A Newsweek editor admitted Wednesday that he and other staffers didn’t actually read their recalled commemorative “Madam President” election issue before it was published.

Newsweek political editor Matthew Cooper said Wednesday on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that the magazine’s issue, which incorrectly anticipated a Hillary Clinton win, was not produced by Newsweek but by a third party.

“Well, no one on our staff wrote that,” Cooper said. “Again, we subcontract out to a company.”

Cooper later stated that  “we did not review it before it went out.”

Carlson, who was aghast, asked at one point what would have happened if the sub-contractor, a hack outfit called Topix Media Lab, had printed “Mein Kampf” in the special edition under Newsweek’s banner.  “That would have been even worse,” answered Cooper.

I suppose—in content perhaps, but not from a journalism ethics perspective. Newsweek not only published an edition announcing that Hillary Clinton had been elected President, it misled readers by allowing it to be published under its banner, when nobody connected to the magazine had even read it. This was both irresponsible and dishonest, it is also incompetent, lazy and jaw-droppingly stupid. In addition to describing an event that didn’t happen, it also falsely characterized how it happened, with airbrushed history like,

“as the tone of the election grew darker and more bizarre by the day, President-Elect Hillary Clinton ‘went high’ when her opponent and supporters went even lower… even as a handful of Trump’s deplorable supporters, seeing the wide margin she held among female voters, called for repealing the 19th Amendment.”

Why does the public accept fake news from Russia and Macedonia? One reason is that they can’t be certain when the news they get from established sources like Newsweek has been checked, vetted, and in this case, read.

Then there is this question. A mainstream news media source put out an entire issue under i’s banner without checking it in any way. This is a major journalism scandal that calls into question the integrity, honesty and trustworthiness of the entire industry. Yet not a single mainstream media source—not the New York Times, not the Washington Post, not the AP, CNN or the network news—have covered the story.

Why?

Pretending something significant didn’t happen when it did is also fake news, you know.

15 Comments

Filed under Business & Commercial, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media

15 responses to “Never Mind “Fake News,” How Do We Protect Ourselves From “Fake Newsweek” And An Industry That Won’t Police Itself?

  1. Other Bill

    “Yet not a single mainstream media source—not the New York Times, not the Washington Post, not the AP, CNN or the network news—have covered the story. Why?”

    I think the answer you’re looking for runs along the lines of “honor among thieves.”

    • wyogranny

      Or, they think it’s a good excuse.
      One can’t be held accountable if one wasn’t there when it happened. Sort of like paying a hit man means the contractor couldn’t have done it.

  2. Wayne

    Apparently about 125,000 of them were distributed before they were recalled. I really wish I had one: It could be kept in plastic wrap along with my “Dewey Beats Truman” newspaper. This is kind of similar to the upside down biplane airmail stamps that somebody asleep at the wheel let go out.

  3. Isaac

    “as the tone of the election grew darker and more bizarre by the day, President-Elect Hillary Clinton ‘went high’ when her opponent and supporters went even lower… even as a handful of Trump’s deplorable supporters, seeing the wide margin she held among female voters, called for repealing the 19th Amendment.”

    HahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahhaahhahHahahahahahahAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAHHAAAAAAAAAAA

    Okay…okay…I’m ok.

    AhahahahahahhahahahaaaaaahhhhahaaaaahAAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAAHAHAHHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHaahaaaaaaaaaa I just can’t

  4. Pennagain

    It seems that people really do believe that computers are smarter than human beings (proof: the fact that we allow them to SpelChek) — they will cook dinner, mind the baby and do your job for you.

    More of an ethical problem for me here, however, is the lack of quotation marks around “deplorable.” The assumption here is that … everybody already does it.

    • junkmailfolder

      Well, it was used in the same sentence as the claim that Hillary went high while Trump supporters went low; to put quotes around “deplorable” would have reminded readers who used that word, and maybe the cognitive dissonance would have been too great?

      Of course, leaving out the quotes makes it much worse, unless they think they’re being objective.

  5. Other Bill

    With the current popularity of outsourcing, I wonder whether the entire edition wasn’t written in India or some other low-paying, English speaking country.

  6. Al Veerhoff

    Newsweek isn’t the only guilty party. People magazine issued a “commemorative edition” of this summer’s Olympics. After you opened it you found that it was commemorating past Games and that it was published before the Games by People’s book publishing division.
    BTW, Newsweek’s editors tweeted on Nov. 7 that they were providing Clinton and Trump editions, published by another company.
    So if you see a “special edition” by a supposedly reputable company while you’re standing in line at the supermarket, think twice. The publisher’s only link to that thing (calling it a periodical would be a travesty) may be the publisher’s name. How low can these guys get?

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