I’ll keep this brief. I held off on commenting on this until more info came out, but with the woman saying she’s not going public with this, I guess now is as good a time as ever.
The Politico, a news source I usually enjoy using, made a mockery of journalism recently when it ran the story of the anonymous complaintants in a sexual harassment scandal during Herman Cain’s tenure as the head honcho of the National Restaurant Association (which I can’t abbreviate because those letters are already taken). I’m not going to comment on that particular issue. Instead, I want to focus on Politico’s decision to run the story with flimsy evidence.
I’m not naive enough to think journalism is and will forever be an unbiased medium. We are humans, after all. Everyone has an opinion, and biologically, the human brain is hard-wired to reject facts even if they disprove a personal belief. But usually, this urge can be controlled, and if there is bias, it is minor and sometimes undetectable, except by those who wear tinfoil hats (hello, every talk show host ever). Granted, some folks try not to hide it, or do a terrible job. For the most part, though, MSNBC and Fox News even manage to occasionally report news.
What Politico did, though, was a very blatant act of non-journalism. They took rumor, mixed it with hearsay and added speculation. The result was TMZ-style reporting on this issue. They did not fact-check, they did not provide any supporting evidence. Instead, they let their bias run rampant in the story and left readers with nothing of any intellectual value.
And that bothers me.