Wednesday, February 08, 2017
The media are blasting the Trump administration for relying on "alternative facts." But what makes this any different? Buzzfeed rushed to publish unconfirmed documents alleging misbehavior on the part of Trump. Buzzfeed went on to defend its actions but was roundly criticized by members of the traditional media. Publications of alt-facts from either side don't make sources accurate or right. Buzzfeed is now in court over its actions and well it should be. Some of Trump's supporters belong there with it for spreading scurrilous and untrue stories about Hillary Clinton. PR practitioners should be horrified by what journalism has become with traditional sources overwhelmed by social media that brays constantly in the background. It means our work is harder and vigilance is the order of the day. One never knows when charges of some kind are going to appear and where. If Buzzfeed escapes judicial punishment for its behavior, it will only justify the medium in its own mind. That would be sad. Fact checking still counts, or should anyway.