Ethics Note To News Media: Rumors Aren’t News, And It Is Unethical To Report Them

Item (The Hill): Democrat: Rumor is Trump could fire Mueller before Christmas

Item (The Washington Examiner): Democrat cites ‘rumor’ Trump will fire Robert Mueller before Christmas

Item (The Daily Banter): Rep. Jackie Speier: Trump is Waiting for Congress to Leave Washington DC to Fire Robert Mueller

Item (The Inquisitr): Trump To Fire Mueller Before Christmas? Explosive Remark By Congresswoman Could Lead To Trump’s Impeachment

There are many more.

When did mere rumors become newsworthy?  The answer is never. Anyone can start a rumor. The speculated substance of the rumor isn’t news, nor is the fact that there is a rumor worthy of reporting, and the report itself makes the rumor real even if it was not. Starting rumors and reporting them as real is exactly what the Russians are being investigated for. It is what the disgusting right-wing conspiracy-mongers who claimed that Hillary Clinton was running a sex-slave operation out of a D.C. pizza joint did.

The public can’t distinguish between rumors, which are not news, and statements of alleged fact by anonymous sources, because the latter might be news and the reporters aren’t supposed to report them unless they have verified the tip, which they may do or they may not, since so many reporters are hacks. Journalists, however, are supposed to know the difference, which is, in its simplest form, you never report rumors, because they can’t be verified by definition.

Rep. Speier is unethical for spreading a rumor, and the news item, if any, should be “Democratic Congressman Trying To Unsettle the Public By Spreading Rumors.”

This is how low news reporting has descended.

As low as it can go.

(Note: Two of those headlines above are also lies. Can you tell which?)

 

19 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media

19 responses to “Ethics Note To News Media: Rumors Aren’t News, And It Is Unethical To Report Them

  1. Other Bill

    The Resistance will eat this up like cotton candy. My son will scream at me, ‘See? See? He’s a goner! And you’re an idiot for not realizing this!’ Ugh.

  2. LF

    I disagree. I do not think they have even come close to rock bottom yet.

  3. charlesgreen

    This makes good sense to me, I think you’re quite right. Gossip should not be reported, even if it’s labelled ‘gossip.’

  4. Chris marschner

    I treat everything after fraudulent headlines as partisan propaganda.

    • Chris marschner wrote, “I treat everything after fraudulent headlines as partisan propaganda.”

      The fraudulent headlines are actually the worst and most conniving part of the propaganda. These propaganda headline fabricators know good and well that most of the people out there that see the headlines won’t spend more than a couple of seconds reading the words of the article. The sheep take the headline as fact and share their newly found “fact” with others (Progressive Magical Thinking) then the sheep move on to the next headline that’s overflowing with propaganda. It’s an endless cycle of stupidity. I’ve seen it time after time; it makes me sick how stupid some of the sheep are and how many of them there are.

  5. Greg

    This article posted an hour ago:

    President Trump’s lawyer managing his response to Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia denied rumors that the president is considering firing the special counsel. . . . “As the White House has repeatedly and emphatically said for months, there is no consideration at the White House of terminating the special counsel,” Cobb said.

    http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/365289-trump-lawyer-denies-rumors-of-muellers-impending-firing

    I sent the article to my friend, who had sent me an article about the original rumor. His response, “Bullshit. They’re lying.”

    • Classic deranged illogic and confirmation bias! A hearsay rumor one wishes were true has more credibility than an actual on-the-record source in the decision-making process.

      • This reminds me of the Rex Tillerson story/non-story. Maybe publicize this rumor every few months as a win/win for the media. If he fires Mueller the story is vindicated. If he does not fire Mueller, the investigation continues, which the media wants. And at the margins the “rumor” is probably a dis-incentive to Trump if he is considering firing Mueller.

        • Dan Abrams wrote, “…at the margins the “rumor” is probably a dis-incentive to Trump if he is considering firing Mueller.”

          That kinda falls inline with what I wrote below, “…they are intentionally using the media propaganda machine to manipulate reactions from the President of the United States”.

        • This is a win/win for the progressive media.

          Not sure what happened the first time

  6. Rumors, fake news, misrepresentations, and outright lies have been cornerstones of political left’s anti-Republican anti-Conservative propaganda machine for quite a while; it’s been designed and presented in a manner to keep those they oppose constantly busy being on the defensive to put out the growing conflagrations. The more “news” they can pile on that presents the ones they oppose in a negative manner the better. It really doesn’t matter one damn bit if it’s rumors, fake news, misrepresentations, or outright lies; if you keep the propaganda in the faces of the public enough the effect will be to completely strip the credibility of those the political left opposes. This is the left’s propaganda machine and it’s become so open and blatant in the last few years that it can no longer be denied by anyone that’s got a critical thinking brain.

    What’s really concerning to me is that the media has become so damned arrogant that they’re willing to come right out and state that it’s a “rumor” instead of their go-to phrase “sources say” knowing full well that the sheep will eat it up as “fact” just like all the other bull shit propaganda they projectile vomit down the willing throats of their compliant public. The colluding left wing media knows good and well that anything they spew out in “print” will be swallowed whole by their sheeple and the odor of the regular spewings will attract more ignorant followers to the trough.

    What’s sinister about the collusion between the political left and their colluding media propaganda partners is now I believe that they are intentionally using the media propaganda machine to manipulate reactions from the President of the United States. I think we are seeing a form of psychological warfare being employed by the political left and their colluding media propaganda parteners.

    My hope for the future of the United States Constitution is dwindling.

    The Constitution and freedom in the United States will die with thunderous applause from the political left. I’m seriously beginning to wonder if the political left is so far gone and entrenched in their “political antiology” (that’s my new go-to phrase to describe what’s happening) that there won’t even be a few of them that will quietly whisper to themself “what have we done”; of course they wouldn’t dare say it aloud for fear of be publicly smeared by their political antiology conspirators.

  7. The two lies are…

    “Trump is Waiting for Congress to Leave Washington DC to Fire Robert Mueller”

    This headline states a rumor as a fact – it’s a lie.

    “Explosive Remark By Congresswoman Could Lead To Trump’s Impeachment”

    There is absolutely no remark made by any Congress person that could lead to Trump’s Impeachment, only things Trump does could possibly lead to impeachment.

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