ABC News Reporter: It’s Okay For Us To Lie About Trump Because He Lies Sometimes

ABC News Reporter: It’s Okay For Us To Lie About Trump Because He Lies Sometimes

ABC News reporter Terry Moran suggested Wednesday that it’s okay for news outlets to report uncorroborated allegations from a single, anonymous source about President-elect Donald Trump because he did the same thing when he alleged in 2012 that Barack Obama wasn’t born in the United States.

So to parse his line of reasoning, Moran is covering BuzzFeed’s malfeasance by suggesting journalists aren’t obligated to publish only the truth that can be verified if the person who they’re covering has also spread untrue information. In other words: Donald Trump spreads falsehoods, so we can do the same about him!

Moran’s comments come off the heels of BuzzFeed’s decision to publish 35 pages of memos alleging that Russia possessed damning information about Trump, but decided not to make it public because they were actively helping the businessman win the 2016 presidential election. The claims made in those memos has not been verified and were riddled with factual errors, causing many to criticize BuzzFeed’s decision to publish them as reckless and irresponsible.

Trump lashed out at BuzzFeed, saying the story was “fake news” — a term the news media coined to describe blogs that spread untrue claims about Hillary Clinton in the months leading up to the election, which they say damaged her campaign.

Glenn Kessler, a fact checker for The Washington Post, also compared BuzzFeed’s decision to Trump’s birtherism.

Ouch. The comparison is an interesting one, as Kessler is basically saying that members of the media acted no better than Donald Trump did when he spread the uncorroborated rumor that Obama was born overseas, a statement Trump later retracted.

In their summary, The New York Times said BuzzFeed’s decision to publish factually inaccurate information without doing due diligence “stirred debate.”

Richard Tolfel, president of the nonprofit investigative news site Pro-Publica, had this to say.

Newsflash to reporters: it’s literally your job to not publish information that cannot be verified. It’s not about “hiding it from the public” but about what a news organization chooses to put its name behind by publishing. There’s an old newsroom adage that summarizes a journalist’s obligation to tell the truth: “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.” When a reporter or news outlet violates this code of ethics and does nothing to verify wild claims before publishing them, members of the media would do well to call them out or risk further alienating the American public.

No wonder only 4 percent of Americans have a favorable view of news media, and the vast majority believe media are biased on purpose — because reporters say insane things like this. Newsflash: it’s literally the media’s job to verify claims and allegations before publishing them.

Bre Payton is a staff writer at The Federalist. Follow her on Twitter.
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