October 17, 2019

TO BE TRUSTED, IT HELPS TO BE TRUSTWORTHY: Poynter: Don’t let ABC’s mistake fuel distrust of the media.

As politicians continue to attack the credibility of the press, ABC News suffered a self-inflicted wound that is feeding cynical, misguided notions about how news media operate.

On Sunday evening, in a report about violence in northern Syria, ABC’s “World News Tonight“ included a video clip of a nighttime machine gun exhibition at a Kentucky shooting range, with weekend anchor Tom Llamas describing it as “appearing to show Turkey’s military bombing Kurd civilians.” Early Monday morning, shortly before the video was shown again on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Wojciech Pawelczyk, a conservative political activist, debunked it on Twitter. By midday — after the incident was further investigated by Beckett Adams (no relation), a columnist at The Washington Examiner — ABC News had issued a statement saying it had removed the video and “regrets the error.”

ABC News has declined to comment on how the error occurred.

Into that vacuum of non-information rushed a familiar barrage of cynical accusations.

“Cynical?” This sort of “mistake” happens with disturbing frequency and the “mistakes” lean heavily in one direction. Then when they’re caught, they get stealth corrections, deletions, or in this case, a stonewall. Why should people trust a media that acts this way? The Poynter crowd wouldn’t give any other big corporations the benefit of the doubt we’re seeing here.

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