Thursday, March 22, 2007

"Politico" does it again

Politico is a rather new print and online newspaper in Washington, but their influence in American politics has been felt rather quickly, and that hasn't been a good thing. Lately, Media Matters for America has flagged a few of their writers for misinformation and smears on Democrats.

This morning, around 11am, writer Ben Smith posted on the front page of as fact that John Edwards was going to suspend his presidential campaign, AND may drop out completely due to the reoccurence of his wife's breast cancer. He later updated his story to say that the Edwards campaign denied those statements, then issued a complete apology on his blog to his readers early this afternoon (AFTER Edwards and Elizabeth spoke to the press in the 12pm hour).

He admitted that his story was based on one anonymous source, one that he claims has been a reliable source of his for years and said was a "friend" of the Edwards campaign (and NOT a part of it). More importantly though, Smith basically broke a long-standing rule of journalism, which is to verify your key information in a report with at least TWO independent sources, especially if they're anonymous.

In the 24-hour news cycle we live in, journalists feel the competitive pressure often times to get their story out there first, but there's no excuse for not meeting some basic requirements of journalism. Who knows how Ben Smith's bosses will treat him after this incident, but it is just one more chapter of misinformation by this newspaper, at the expense of the same political party, he Dems, and hopefully enough major media outlets will see through that soon and point out their biased or untrustworthy writers in the future. Candy Crowley and CNN sort of did today when she said Politico is known for having "crackerjack" reporters. That's a decent start.

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