The top news editor at the New York Times has revealed an alarming new standard for what now passes as news in that paper.
The Public Editor’s Journal of Oct. 27 quotes him explaining why a news story containing an error should not be thought mistaken: The Times, he said, was only reporting what was common knowledge and that “It’s hard to imagine some version of this is not true.”
Just not the version reported.
Previously, the basic standard for publishing news required reporters to confirm facts. Specific, concrete, verifiable facts. Only talking heads and bloggers spouting fringe opinions relied on assumptions about what is common knowledge or the comforting excuse that surely some version of the events in question must be true.
Every old-school journalist has heard the saying, “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.”
From now on, readers of the Times will have to do their own fact-checking before relying on news that’s printed whether it’s fit or not.