How many times have we recently seen liberal “journalists” rush to air stories that they desperately hope are true but don’t stand up to scrutiny?
The most recent example of this trend came on Tuesday, when MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell could barely contain himself before relying on a single source to accuse President Trump of having improper financial connections with Russia and Vladimir Putin.
As you might expect, the hosts of the Fox News Channel’s weekday afternoon program The Five found more than enough things to talk about on Wednesday, when one person on the panel accused the MSNBC host of “Bad Journalism.”
After showing some video from the previous day, all the hosts criticized the Last Word anchor for airing the article before the information had been verified.
Also taking part in the discussion was co-host Dana Perino, who stated: “I don’t think people need to watch his show tonight, OK, because he has already shown he doesn’t care about giving accurate information.”
“I always say this on Twitter," Perino added: “If you have to write ‘Big if True’ on something that you are re-tweeting: Don’t tweet it! Just wait and see it is actually true.”
Greg Gutleld joined the discussion by joking: “That’s boring!” Perino added:
I understand that mistakes could happen. You could go to air with something that isn't quite -- but he walks all the way up to the line and he has Rachel Maddow just waiting like, what, really? It reminded me when she said she had the president's tax returns and you sat there for 20 minutes like waiting for her to get to the point and then you realize...
And also because the Russian story is one that fizzled in April and they are trying to figure a way -- figure out a way to bring it back, but if you're going to do that, you better be ready because now what happens? Now, President Trump can turn out and say, here they go again. I told you. And he's proving -- they are proving his point over and over again.
Co-host Juan Williams slammed the decision to run the story as proof of how social media is cheapening journalism:
It seems we have gone away from gatekeepers in journalism, you know? Because social media is like: “Who has it first? Who can just make an outrageous statement that gets lots of clicks?”
And this was an outrageous statement. By his own admission. He really didn’t have the story, which O’Donnell said he was wrong and not the story. There is no journalist in America would say a single source and that you have not gone to your editors and nobody has vetted this story to say well, you know, what do we have from other people?
Nothing like that. He just makes the statement. So, he got it wrong. Now, it's interesting, him saying that he made an error in reporting this. He is not saying that the story is wrong. He is saying he was wrong.
And I -- so again, to me it comes back to social media where people have what I call confirmation bias.In other words, they take stories that they want to be true and then they say, "oh, you know what, I'm going to believe this story and I'm not going to check it out because that might get in the way of my good feelings so I'm just going to report it." And to me, that ends up with egg on your face.
It's just bad journalism.
Gutfeld made the obvious point that the people at MSNBC should be “leery of any Russian bombshell story.”
“Maybe he got pranked,” Gutfeld then noted. “The single source could have been Trump on the phone saying: ‘Yes, it was Russian oligarchs. Trust me on this, Larry. Trust me!'”
As NewsBusters reported on Wednesday, O’Donnell relied on an anonymous source while accusing Trump of getting loans from the Deutsche Bank that were allegedly co-signed by Russian oligarchs.
That “scoop” was retracted less than 24 hours after it hit national TV because its validity could not be verified.