Depth of MSM's credibility problem revealed

Christopher Alleva
The University of Tampa's College Newspaper, the Minaret was the victim of a cruel hoax pulled on it by a student who fabricated a story claiming her brother was MIA in Iraq. While the paper allowed itself to be taken in, and may not have handled the matter perfectly, at least it came clean as soon as they discovered the error. 

Most people who attend college encounter fabulists; it goes with the territory. Usually, they have enough sense to confine their tall tales to the gang at the dorm or a love interest; no harm no foul. This case was unusual because the student went to such lengths to tell her lies.

Much more interesting to me is what the aftermath reveals about attitudes on campus toward the MSM.  The Minaret's former editor offers the comfort that at least it isn't as bad as major media outlets:
"Unfortunately, there have been cases in national media in which journalists fabricated stories; this is not one of them. Minaret reporters did what they could to confirm her story, but with a "missing" brother, a family who allegedly was too upset to talk and concerned friends who confirmed the lies she had also told them, editors decided to print the story. No one had any clue her story was fake until her brother responded to the original article. Again, this was about a source who lied and embellished a story, not a reporter or editor who fabricated an article."
Right between the eyes, the Minaret's former Editor-in-Chief Victor O'Brien seeks to distance himself in the very first sentence from the scandals that have plagued the MSM. The online comment thread on its story contains even more blunt sentiments, evidencing the MSM's complete loss of credibility. Here is a sample:
  • "Well, Bree [the reporter hoaxed by the story] looks like a fine journalist in the making. I'm sure CBS has already offered her a producer's post."
  • "Too late, John. The New Republic snapped her up to fill a problematic opening."
  • "I have to hand it to the Minaret for showing integrity in the way they handled this situation. Unlike CBS, TNR, and the rest, the Minaret came out on the record quickly and corrected the story once it was determined to be false."
  • "Congratulations on the Minaret for publishing a complete and detailed correction, without all the slights and dodges that some, like the New Republic, or CBS, have resorted to in order to try to save face. There are hundreds of professional journalists and editors that could take a lesson from your staff on ethics. "
Presumably, these commenters are all students. [editor's note: an emailer states they are not.] From my vantage point, this is an accurate reflection of the attitudes and opinions of the media's coveted audience demographic. If I were in management at CBS, NBC or CNN I'd sounding alarm bells from New York to Los Angeles. Guys, this is what the audience thinks of you and it's not good. I guess it's kind of hard to expect any integrity from people riding the gravy train.  

hat tip: Ace  and Junkyardblog
The University of Tampa's College Newspaper, the Minaret was the victim of a cruel hoax pulled on it by a student who fabricated a story claiming her brother was MIA in Iraq. While the paper allowed itself to be taken in, and may not have handled the matter perfectly, at least it came clean as soon as they discovered the error. 

Most people who attend college encounter fabulists; it goes with the territory. Usually, they have enough sense to confine their tall tales to the gang at the dorm or a love interest; no harm no foul. This case was unusual because the student went to such lengths to tell her lies.

Much more interesting to me is what the aftermath reveals about attitudes on campus toward the MSM.  The Minaret's former editor offers the comfort that at least it isn't as bad as major media outlets:
"Unfortunately, there have been cases in national media in which journalists fabricated stories; this is not one of them. Minaret reporters did what they could to confirm her story, but with a "missing" brother, a family who allegedly was too upset to talk and concerned friends who confirmed the lies she had also told them, editors decided to print the story. No one had any clue her story was fake until her brother responded to the original article. Again, this was about a source who lied and embellished a story, not a reporter or editor who fabricated an article."
Right between the eyes, the Minaret's former Editor-in-Chief Victor O'Brien seeks to distance himself in the very first sentence from the scandals that have plagued the MSM. The online comment thread on its story contains even more blunt sentiments, evidencing the MSM's complete loss of credibility. Here is a sample:
  • "Well, Bree [the reporter hoaxed by the story] looks like a fine journalist in the making. I'm sure CBS has already offered her a producer's post."
  • "Too late, John. The New Republic snapped her up to fill a problematic opening."
  • "I have to hand it to the Minaret for showing integrity in the way they handled this situation. Unlike CBS, TNR, and the rest, the Minaret came out on the record quickly and corrected the story once it was determined to be false."
  • "Congratulations on the Minaret for publishing a complete and detailed correction, without all the slights and dodges that some, like the New Republic, or CBS, have resorted to in order to try to save face. There are hundreds of professional journalists and editors that could take a lesson from your staff on ethics. "
Presumably, these commenters are all students. [editor's note: an emailer states they are not.] From my vantage point, this is an accurate reflection of the attitudes and opinions of the media's coveted audience demographic. If I were in management at CBS, NBC or CNN I'd sounding alarm bells from New York to Los Angeles. Guys, this is what the audience thinks of you and it's not good. I guess it's kind of hard to expect any integrity from people riding the gravy train.  

hat tip: Ace  and Junkyardblog