David Frum

11.27.12

A Case of Really Bad Journalism

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Mohamed Abu Aisha, via ElderOfZiyon

The New York Times' David Carr is receiving some well deserved scrutiny after a pretty dreadful column in which he accused the Israeli Defense Force of targeting journalists.

These "journalists," alas, weren't exactly "journalists." Carr might have been able to figure this out, but as he pointed out to Buzzfeed's Rosie Gray, he didn't verify the information. Unsurprisingly, Commentary's Alana Goodman dices Carr for such sloppy journalism.

So because another news organization reported it, that automatically makes it accurate? Carr never even informs readers that he was relying on the reporting of other news outlets, and doesn’t attribute his information to the AP, AFP or the Washington Post (as the New York Times ethics policy requires). Instead, readers are given the impression that Carr verified the information himself.

Carr claims he used the Committee to Protect Journalists as a “primary source,” even though he didn’t cite the organization. The problem is, if you check the CPJ website, it never independently confirmed that the terrorists killed in the Israeli strike were journalists. It clearly noted that it was citing outside news organizations, which means it wasn’t a primary source in this case.