On Journalistic Integrity

[SPOILER ALERT – Minor plot details from “Supergirl” season 2, episode 15]

In season 2, episode 15 of the CW’s “Supergirl” (the most recent, as of this writing), Kara Danvers (AKA Supergirl) is fired from her job as a reporter by her editor, Snapper Carr, for publishing a story on her personal blog that he wouldn’t let her publish in the paper because she didn’t follow basic journalistic principles and could not cite two independent and verifiable sources to back her claims.  Her information was correct, but that was not the point.  Here is what Snapper had to say on the matter:

Kara: “I thought what I was doing was right.”

Snapper: “You weren’t right, you were lucky. Next time, you might not be. One wrong statistic about the stock market, and suddenly we’re in a great depression. One mis-attributed quote from a candidate, and you put a fascist in the White House. The rules are there for a reason: to make sure you get the story right. That’s not luck–that’s being a good reporter.”

Coincidentally, last night I watched Rachel Maddow’s show on which she displayed two pages of a 2005 tax return allegedly representing Donald Trump’s filing for that year.  I say “allegedly” because the “source” for this information is a reporter who had those pages anonymously delivered to him. By his own admission, they could have come from anywhere.  Hell, they could be forgeries! He went on at some length about where they MIGHT have come from, but he has no idea.

Hours, even days will be spent on speculation about these two pages and what they “mean.”  And speculation is all it can be because there are no verifiable facts to back it up. (The White House did release a statement which would seem to corroborate this, but they would have run with the story absent that.) I’m am not a journalist, nor am I student of Journalism. But I question the journalistic integrity of someone who receives information anonymously and decides to publish it without verifying its authenticity. It’s sensationalism at best, reckless and potentially dangerous at worst.

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