Opinion: Kindergarten journalism – publishing unsubstantiated information

POSTED: 12/10/14 6:47 PM

You know you are dealing with kindergarten journalism when you read that some hapless internet blogger sees fit to “remind” the formateur of certain things, as if said blogger has any kind of authority.

Jumbled pieces containing a mix of commentary and questionable – though not necessarily untrue – facts are the bread and butter of the blogger who does not have to, want to or is unable to apply simple standards that make journalism such an interesting, yet challenging profession.

We understand that the hapless blogger “found something in her letter box” (we didn’t know people still had letter boxes) and that this is enough to publish whatever was in that letter box, without any fact checking. Time for print media to bring out safeguards like “it appears” and “sources close to the issue,” while others chose not to publish at all.

From an objective point of view it is a weak story even though – again – it is not necessarily untrue. That is not the point here. As an independent newspaper we do not care who is involved. We will write what we have to write, but we stick to the principles of sound journalism and leave the melee to the kindergarten class of scribblers.

The only difference with mosquitoes is that mosquitoes are easier to get rid of.

The question remains: what is really going on here? In our opinion there is a high stakes game being played by – for now – invisible players who use a local garbage bin to manipulate the formation of a new government.

There is no other explanation for publishing unsubstantiated information about candidate-ministers. The objective is to discredit candidates, so that others get in a position to take their place.

So far, nothing has been decided yet. At the moment of this writing there is no black smoke coming out of any chimney, officially announcing that several candidate-ministers have “failed the screening.” That this could change overnight – yes, we are aware of this. So what?

It is custom not to publish the result of a soccer match before the match is over. Politics is a different field of course, a realm where greed and jealousy play a bigger role that most people think. Candidate-ministers nominated for critical positions who threaten the status quo of those who shamelessly are robbing the state blind, are bound to meet a lot of resistance. Anything will do to trip up these candidates or to create the suggestion that something really terrible has happened that prevents them from taking office. We gladly refer to the story of the German Vice Chancellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Joschka Fischer about whom we published yesterday.

But then, how does anyone make sure that a media outlet – any media outlet – publishes what you want? We figure that you fill an envelope with the information you want to see published and you add enough cash to make sure the receiver understands what it is you want to happen. That is bribery of course, but when it happens in the shadows and nobody squeals, these practices will always remain in the dark.

We’re not saying this happened. We’re saying that this is how we would do it if we were in the business of political manipulation. It just happens to be so, that we are not for sale and that we have nothing to sell either. We value our independence much more than a dirty envelope stuffed with cash.


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