ATLANTA, GA – CNN has reported on a New York Times article describing a Washington Post interview with an unnamed source who claims to have seen evidence that major media outlets’ failure to independently verify stories before publishing them is significantly eroding the public’s trust in mainstream journalism.
“This was a totally preventable crisis caused entirely by lazy reporting, the gutting of fact-checking departments to save money, and the tiny self-reinforcing echo chamber of media Twitter,” the anonymous source was quoted as saying in several virtually identical articles published within a few hours of one another. “When outlets fail to do their due diligence by independently checking with multiple sources and instead simply report on each others’ reporting, it can cause massive failures in the system where entire media cycles are driven by errors and outright falsehoods,” he reportedly continued in whatever outlet it was that first broke this story.
The unnamed source added that these problems are additionally compounded when the sources cited in the original reporting remain anonymous. “This can lead other outlets to think they are checking information with a second source, when in fact they are unknowingly speaking to the original source of the potentially bad or misleading information,” said another source familiar with the situation who agreed to speak with us off the record.
“This kind of widespread journalistic malpractice can cause even the biggest, most widely reported stories to collapse under the most minimal scrutiny,” said the source in a quote that was uncritically reproduced in every major newspaper and on several cable news networks. “It’s inevitably a huge embarrassment to the outlets that publish these kinds of stories, or at least it would be if they ever issued clear and honest retractions instead of secretly editing or deleting them after they are shown to be total bunk.”
ADDENDUM: The stories on which this article was based have since been taken down by the outlets that published them after a blogger revealed that the Post’s original source was in fact a long-tailed marmot and not an anonymous expert in journalism or media.
If a link somehow led you to this article and not the less embarrassing version we quietly posted to replace it, we regret the error.