I have often pointed out that editors today allow reporters’ opinion, speculation, or guess-work to be published as news. In a long essay in Tabletmag.com, Feb. 22, 2017, Lee Smith, a senior editor at the Weekly Standard and fellow at the Hudson Institute, agrees. The essay is sub-titled: “How did we get from the ‘Village Voice’ reporters digging up everything there is t know about a flashy New York real estate salesman to not knowing anything about the President of the United States and his ties to Russia?”
Smith writes: ‘It’s about a self-aggrandizing press corps gaslighting the electorate. The public is astonished and appalled that the media has now returned after an eight-year absence to arrogate to itself the role of conscience of the nation.
“It’s not working out very well.
“Consider the Washington Post, whose new motto is “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” which presumably was OK’d by owner Jeff Bezos, the man who closed virtually every independent bookstore in America. Here’s a recent story about riots in Sweden:
” ‘Just two days after President Trump provoked widespread consternation by seeming to imply, incorrectly, that immigrants had perpetrated a recent spate of violence in Sweden, riots broke out in a predominantly immigrant neighborhood in the northern suburbs of the country’s capital, Stockholm.’
“You’ve probably never seen the phrase “seeming to imply” in the lede of a story in a major American newspaper before—a news story. So did Trump imply, or seem to imply? How are readers supposed to parse “incorrectly” if the story is about the reality of riots in a place where Trump “seemingly” “implied” there was violence? So what’s the point—that Trump is a racist? Or that Trump can see the future?”
Actually, Mr. Smith, I have seen worse. The New York Times is a champion at crystal ball gazing in the guise of news.