Unethical Tweet Of The Month, “Enemy Of The People” Division: CNN Reporter Joe Lockhart

Yup…a CNN journalist tweeted out a lie , let it go viral, then came back later and said he made it up, but we “know” it’s true.

A trustworthy news organization would fire a reporter who did this immediately. CNN has not and will not, because CNN is  not a trustworthy organization.

On a related track, Matt Laszlo, a journalist who works at The Daily Beast and NPR, tweeted, 

With 9 in 10 Republicans reporting having lost faith in the media (because Trump’s rhetoric has worked), I argue it’s time for newspapers to rethink their relationships with readers and end endorsements now

Conservative columnist Charlie Martin caught it, and correctly noted (in an excellent piece about mainstream media bias that echos many posts on Ethics Alarms),

…what struck me was his explanation: “because Trump’s rhetoric has worked.” I’ve written about the record of unreliability, mendacity, and flat-out lies by the media about Trump, going back to my first “Stop Making Me Defend Trump” article on Inauguration Day to my recent VIP article “Why Don’t Americans Trust the Media?” There are too many examples to enumerate here, from the Times‘ report that Trump “lied” about being “wiretapped” when they had reported the wiretapping on the front page, to the 111 examples Sharyl Attkisson has accumulated over the last three years. (It’s 111 at last count — it was only 106 when I wrote the “don’t trust the media” piece in December.)

Journalists lie outright in public as their employers and editors shrug and do nothing, and then accuse the President of being responsible for the fact that the public no longer trusts journalists.

16 thoughts on “Unethical Tweet Of The Month, “Enemy Of The People” Division: CNN Reporter Joe Lockhart

  1. I think we’re seeing a backlash to “the resistance” in two forms.

    One is as Matt Laszlo’s article points out, rank and file on the right are unified in their belief that the traditional media is devoid of any credibility whatsoever. (Although I do question who the one in ten are that still have faith in the media… I guess the fervently never Trump?)

    The second is that we’re seeing a unification of the Republican party unlike any in my lifetime. I think the democrats have been lockstep for far longer. McConnell and Graham have been considered sellout wimps for years. No more.

    This is going to be yet another over-reach that will backfire.

    • McConnell and Graham have been considered sellout wimps for years

      Still are. We trust them as far as we could throw an elephant. Nice that they see personal gain in supporting the Right, for now, but it will take a lot longer track record to prove to conservatives that they are not a part of the Swamp: GOP establishment elitists (GOPe) who work for their personal gain and power.

  2. Despondency is what remains in me after seeing what the left’s treachery has wrought. A nation hopelessly divided by an endless phalanx of lies.

    While a majority of us may see it and return a flawed President to office who stands athwart these liars and their seditious plans, what follows will very likely be a national version of riots following social justice warriors not getting their way in the courts. Where it goes from there is the stuff of nightmares unseen in over 150 years.

    • Jim, I, too, am despondent. Our educational system has been taken over by left wing flakes, our news media has sold their souls and Republican Conservatives are attacked physically while at dinner. I am afraid that the inmates have truly taken over the asylum and our great Experiment has failed. With luck, I won’t live to see the end of this, but my grand children and great-grand children surely will. I fear for them.

      • I wouldn’t worry too much. Personally, I’m glad they’re losing patience and spoiling for a fight. That bit of nonsense will be firmly, decisively, and permanently put down by the grown-ups when THEY finally get good and pissed. So, SO much better for it to come to a head, than for it to simmer, until they’ve indoctrinated all sanity out of existence.

        Not all pain is a curse.

  3. A police officer caught in a lie can no longer do his job, because no one will believe him when he testifies. A lawyer who knowingly lies will lose his license. If this guy had put the two tweets together as one, he might be ok, as just a snide aside saying “I bet this is what they’re thinking.” Still not appropriate for someone whose job is to report the facts, but it would probably be a protected statement of opinion or belief. This guy, whose job it is to tell the truth, told a blatant lie, saying Senators were somewhere they weren’t and said something they didn’t say, then let it sit out there for seven, count ’em, seven hours, the equivalent of many people’s workday if we allow an hour for lunch, then tweeted that this was a lie, but everyone here knows that’s what they said.

    Sixteen years ago CBS sacked Mary Mapes and pushed Dan Rather into “retirement” ahead of schedule because they took some sketchy information that turned out to be fake and ran with it in the hopes of bringing down GWB in the 2004 election. This guy openly lies, and no one even blinks? To paraphrase the speech (actually a rant) by George Galloway that the whole left thought was so damn great when he delivered it against Norm Coleman, I know standards have slipped in the last few years in the industry, but for a journalist, this guy is remarkably cavalier with any idea of the truth.

    Then other journalists have the audacity to say the public doesn’t believe them because of the president’s rhetoric? Truly, the journalism industry inhabits a separate reality.

  4. Joe Lockhart is not a journalist or a reporter he’s an analyst or a contributor. That said; a person like Joe Lockhart who is willing to literally make up biased lies like that to feed into the bias of those that follow him on Twitter doesn’t belong presenting anything to the public on CNN even as an analyst, he simply cannot be trusted.

  5. Because of Trump’s rhetoric? No, they did it to themselves, and it didn’t start just four years ago. The self-inflicted foot-shootings and face-punchings started decades ago. I was a journalist (Army) in the Seventies, but I couldn’t be one now…I would lose either my self-respect or my job.

  6. I think it might be useful to have the equivalent of a “news aggregator” for these transgressions against truthful commentary and journalism. I wonder what the response would be if all these examples that led the decline in trustworthiness of the media were able to be aggregated into one site where the culprit, example, and employer are identified.

    I believe this crap continues because such examples are diffused throughout the media and thus get hidden in the forest of information we face daily. If we started collating these examples in one location a critical mass might occur and things might change.

  7. So at Christmas time there was a funny tweet…

    This account was suspended for fake news. This is not the only time, I have seen several stories of late about twitter and Instagram fact checking, and blocking sarcasm and memes. Another notable one was when some photographer took a picture in Death Valley or something and re-touched the picture to show colors in the sand, that got blocked as well. (https://www.niemanlab.org/2020/01/instagram-is-busy-fact-checking-memes-and-rainbow-hills-while-leaving-political-lies-alone/)

    How is it that this guy can just outright lie, and that is fine. I cannot stomach this double standard anymore.

  8. The Quora question posed was: Should a reporter that tweets out a very international lie (a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive) be fired? The question provided a link to this very blog post about Joe Lockhart.

    One of the answers to the question posted was presented by Diana Lucas, who claims to have studied Journalism at Western Washington University…

    Yes, a journalist should be fired if they knowingly report something they’d made up as true.

    You know who else should be fired for lying?

    A president.

    A Congress member.

    A Vice President.

    Any White House cabinet member.

    My problem with the article you’ve linked is that it lumps all journalists under this label of liar. Why does it do that? Because the website is showing its bias.

    The same website also assumes that CNN is a fount of lies all the time.

    One journalist is not all journalists. One journalist acting in bad faith can indeed taint a news organization, but stating that that news organization is completely corrupt because of that one journalist is just not true.

    That would be like my saying that all men are liars just because Trump is a liar.

    I have my biases as well and regularly assume that Republicans are all liars and too worried about getting re-elected to properly stand up to and stop Trump from corrupting the White House….

    …oh wait, that isn’t entirely an assumption, it’s mostly true. There are some Republicans willing to stand up to Trump. Mainly the ones who weren’t happy with McConnell’s impeachment trial rules so they spoke up about it and got them amended.

    The real test if is they speak up even more and get the witnesses in to testify, like they should and would in a fair and impartial trial.

    Until that happens, I’ll stick with my assumption that Senate Republicans are cowards too intent on staying in their comfy government jobs than preventing a craven idiot from creating havoc for our country while he enriches himself.

    I replied with this…

    Do you deny this statement in the blog I linked to,

    “Journalists lie outright in public as their employers and editors shrug and do nothing, and then accuse the President of being responsible for the fact that the public no longer trusts journalists.”

    If I understand your opinion properly, you’ll claim that because some of these biased liars are not “journalist” or “reporters” then it’s fine for the media to keep them on staff and it doesn’t show how the media outlets have delved into the abyss of being propaganda machines.

    Question: Do you know that the public has been dumbed-down so badly by the media that they can’t tell the difference between what’s a news report and what’s an opinion piece?

    People turn on or read what the media puts out, all of it, as if it’s all just the facts. It’s magical thinking. Most of what people are seeing are not the facts and when the facts are presented it’s embedded so deeply in partisan spin that it’s difficult to pick out the actual facts. The main stream media has become propaganda machines for their political parties, they are unethical tools.

    CNN, Fox News, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, etc, etc, ALL need to clean house and return to reporting the facts about the news and leave their biased opinions out of it!

    Fake news is a huge problem in the United States.
    The Many Species Of Fake News

    Diana replied…

    Yes, I do deny that statement because it lumps all journalists together and calls them all liars. Calling all of them liars is wrong and unjustified and I do not agree to that one iota. Like any other profession, there are great journalists, good ones, mediocre ones and poor ones. Saying they are all one and the same simply because you don’t agree with them or don’t like what they report doesn’t mean they are all liars.

    How is it the fault of journalists if some readers are too stupid to tell the difference between news reports and opinion pieces? I can certainly tell the difference and so can all of my friends. The ones who claim they can’t tell the difference had already formed their opinion about something before ever reading the opinion piece and only complain about it being fake news if they disagree with the writer’s opinions. If they agree with what was written they gleefully share it as ‘facts’ to everyone they know and then get offended if told it is no such thing and is only an opinion piece.

    The only dumb-downed people I’ve witnessed of late are ardent Trump supporters who dismiss actual negative facts about the man and what he’s said and done by claiming anything they don’t want to believe must be fake news.

    There will always be some people who believe everything they read, regardless of the source or how outlandish the claims. Those people are either just too trusting, too stupid or too gullible or have other mental problems. Nowadays, checking which site you are reading from and who wrote it is important as you could end up on a propaganda site like Fox News or Breitbart, who stopped pretending to be actual news sites a long time ago. Fox News now calls itself an entertainment site, and not a news site.

    I don’t believe everything I read right off the bat. If I have any doubt, I research it and check more sources. There are some journalists I do believe because I trust their reporting. If I have any doubts, I will search for more sources for confirmation.

    I agree that news reporters should stick to the facts, but I have lost count of how many times facts have been reported and some Trump supporter has claimed that because they don’t like those facts the reporter must a Trump-hating liar.

    The unjust accusations of bias thrown at journalists everyday in every news organization has some journalists quitting the business out of sheer frustration. One of our local news stations has resorted to filming little spots where their reporters take a minute to outline their career in journalism and why they chose it and how they want to report the facts because their viewers deserve facts.

    I’m also very frustrated how any random person can start a blog and claim they are a bonafide journalist just because they write stuff and post it online. That is not true. I was a journalism major in college and having integrity and sticking to the facts was part of our lessons.

    Is there some bias present in journalism. Yes, there is. Is it every journalist at every news station? No, not even close. The majority of journalists have integrity and aren’t spewing out a bunch of fake news.

    Some big names have been fired for lying. Names like Brian Williams who was fired by NBC for relaying a story of a helicopter he was riding in coming under fire during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The helicopter he was in did not take fire, so Williams apologized and admitted he might have conflated the incident with other events after 12 years. NBC still fired him.

    There is this pervasive, and incorrect, idea that main stream media is a tool for democrats. I don’t find that to be true at all. All the main stream news channels were providing non-stop coverage of the investigation into Hilary Clinton’s emails when it was a big nothing-burger, yet have barely covered some of the atrocities Trump is committing while in office, such as the caged children at the borders and the mounting death toll among them.

    Due to conglomeration, a huge chunk of media is owned by just six companies.

    Independent Lens . DEMOCRACY ON DEADLINE . Who Owns the Media?

    The attack on journalism is an attack on the 4th estate in this country. Freedom of the press is meant to help keep our elected officials open and honest because the press reports what they actually do and say to the people that elected them.

    Unrelenting attacks and blanket statements that all journalists are liars is a shameless and frightening attempt by people, led by Trump mostly, to undermine the freedom of the press.

    Hitler did the same thing as he was rising to power. He wanted everyone to only trust him so that when he fed his followers propaganda and lies, they would refuse to believe anyone who told them they were being lied to and that Hitler was a bad person with a bad agenda. The journalists were right, of course, but millions of people died before Hitler could be removed from power.

    So, I’m not buying this all journalists are lying garbage being smeared like manure over everything nowadays. It is a deliberate attempt to make Americans less-informed so they are more easily led by the nose to where an unscrupulous and corrupt con man like Trump wants them to go.

    I think this Diana’s comment represents a silent voice that’s not being heard on Ethics Alarms and I think it warrants discussion here on Ethics Alarms.

    • Except that her comment isn’t even close to valid argument. These are the typical rationalizations: not EVERY report is false, not every journalist is biased. It’s the exact opposite: if there is no way to know when reporters alr lying and biased, then the field has no credibility, and has failed its basic ethics test. I was pretty clear: if CNN allows journalist who lie to continue working there, then CNN cannot be trusted, because it won’t insist on journalism’s ethics. Then she defaults top the lazy, dumb, insulting Hitler Big Lie. And this: “There is this pervasive, and incorrect, idea that main stream media is a tool for democrats” is proff of dishonesty or stupidity, and I don’t care which. Statistics show that over 95% of all reporters and editors are Democrats and progressives. The bias for Obama in both elections was screamingly obvious, and documented by neutral sources like the Pew Foundation. Over 95% of all mainstream media news about Trump is negative, despite various accomplishments. Against this she puts the fact that Brian Williams was fired…and then hired again by NBC subsidiary MSNBC?

      I’d be happy to shoot the fish in a barrel that is Diana and others like her, but I’m looking for smart, informed commenters who don’t misrepresent what’s written here and use straw men, like saying anyone argues that every reporter lies all the time.

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