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Fact-checking the Wall Street Journal

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Azrael, Jul 22, 2020.

  1. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    . . . is a source of concern for employees of the Wall Street Journal.

    Over 280 Wall Street Journal employees raise credibility concerns about opinion page

    More than 280 journalists, editors and other employees at The Wall Street Journal sent a letter to their publisher expressing concerns about misinformation in the paper's opinion section.

    The letter says that “opinion’s lack of fact-checking and transparency, and its apparent disregard for evidence, undermine our readers’ trust and our ability to gain credibility with sources.”

    Among several examples, the employees cite a column by Vice President Pence in which he said fears of a second wave of coronavirus cases were "overblown" and argued that the administration's handling of the pandemic has been a success. They said editors failed to adequately fact-check the piece, which was later corrected.
  2. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    I was wondering yesterday if this might find its way here.

    I am of two minds. I think the WSJ does have a credibility issue with some of the stuff getting into opinion.

    But it does a good job of separating news and opinion, and most readers know the difference. It isn't the readership of the Paluka Post.

    If you are going to have opinion, you run the risk of this. If Mike Pence says that fears of a second wave of coronavirus cases were "overblown," and he argues that the administration has done a good job of handling the pandemic. ... those subjective characterizations are his opinions. They aren't facts that can be verified because they are opinions.

    What everyone is really saying is that they don't like the content of some of the stuff that is going into opinion, and they think it hurts the paper's credibility. That isn't largely a fact-checking or transparency issue.

    FWIW, on the Healther Mac Donald piece that everyone was up in arms about. . ... she cited that article from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences before the authors retracted it. She claimed after they retracted it that they retracted it because she cited it and she said they were giving in to the mob. But on the original piece, if opinion was going to give her space, again, I don't see what more they could have done in terms of fact checking and transparency. She referenced research that was retracted after she cited it.
    Liut likes this.
  3. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Did the employees have any issue with the credibility of opinions they agreed with?
    Liut likes this.
  4. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    uh oh, looks like the WSJ newsroom is running the Op Ed page

    Another example was a reportedly highly-trafficked column titled “The Myth of Systemic Police Racism,” by Heather Mac Donald, a conservative commentator. The Journal employees said the article “selectively presented facts and drew an erroneous conclusion from the underlying data.”

    “Employees of color publicly spoke out about the pain this Opinion piece caused them during company-held discussions surrounding diversity initiatives,” they wrote, adding that if the “company is serious about better supporting its employees of color, at a bare minimum it should raise Opinion’s standards so that misinformation about racism isn’t published.”
  5. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    The Op-Ed side of the paper responds.

    Opinion | A Note to Readers

    “It was probably inevitable that the wave of progressive cancel culture would arrive at the Journal, as it has at nearly every other cultural, business, academic and journalistic institution. But we are not the New York Times. Most Journal reporters attempt to cover the news fairly and down the middle, and our opinion pages offer an alternative to the uniform progressive views that dominate nearly all of today’s media.”
  6. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Well-Known Member

    There was more whine in the note to readers than there is in Robert Mondavi’s basement.
  7. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Whining? No. Arrogance? Plenty.
    BWoronoff likes this.
  8. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    Derecka should definitely report on this.
  9. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    Lots of publisher's boilerplate in there. Sulzberger's statement in the middle of the Bennet thing sounded the same notes.

    "progressive cancel culture," but in the newsroom of the Wall Street Journal?

    That's interesting.
  10. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    Can The Federalist help?
  11. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    I bet it can!
  12. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    I doubt it's quite that strong.

    But really? It's The Wall Street Journal. Publishing a work by Heather Mac Donald is sort of par for the course. Where did these reporters think they worked?

    This, to me, is closer to the Gen Y/Z thing of "so, yeah, I don't like your values, methods and conclusions , but, um, I work here, and instead of me leaving, can you change? (enthusiastically) So let's make that happen!"
    Songbird likes this.
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