WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Fake, Inaccurate, & Misleading News (Part 1)

Jan 24, 2017

The Shop Talk panelists will spend the next couple weeks discussing "news" stories that are deliberately misleading or contain poor reporting.  The starting point for their discussion regards the home page editor of the Washington Post, Doris Truong.

A piece first published by Loyola University Chicago’s Center for Digital Ethics and Policy said Truong is supposedly shown in a video sneaking pictures of Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson’s notes during a break in his confirmation hearing.  Drudge, the Gateway Pundit, and other sites reported the news and Sarah Palin tweeted out about it. 

The problem is: the woman in the photo is not Doris Truong.  She wasn’t even in the building at the time.  But that didn’t stop people who read the phony and poorly researched stories from sending nasty comments to Truong – some even accused her of being a spy for China.

Shop Talk’s Rich Egger said the Truong episode is an example of what can happen when sites such as Drudge shoot from the lip instead of checking the facts.

Panelist Will Buss said it’s problematic when reporters or online commentators jump to conclusions.  And he said lazy reporting always leads to mistakes.

Panelist Jasmine Crighton said some people consider a story to be fake news if they don’t agree with it.  Crighton said that’s dangerous for democracy.

Crighton and Buss both said they address the issue of fake news with their students.  Crighton said she tells students they need to be skeptical of what they read, especially online.

Jasmine Crighton is News Director of NEWS3 at Western Illinois University and Will Buss is the Director of Student Publications at WIU.