By Tim Hunt
Media malpracticeUploaded: May 18, 2017
Listening to the radio Monday afternoon and then reading the Tuesday morning East Bay Times, I was struck at just how low the standards of journalism have fallen.
Monday afternoon, the Washington Post released a story based on unnamed sources that claimed President Trump had released information during a meeting with the Russians that could endanger intelligence operatives overseas.
Within a short time, H.R. McMaster, the National Security Advisor, spoke to the media and flatly denied the Post story and said it was false. McMaster was in the room for the meeting as was Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
The next hourly CBS Radio News broadcast repeated the allegations in the Post story and did not mention McMaster’s denial at all. Not sure if this qualifies as “fake news,” but it is a grade F in a decent journalism school.
The next morning, the East Bay Times did almost the same thing. It led with the Post story across the front page and then buried any mention of McMaster’s first-hand denial on the jump page.
Fair treatment would have run the stories side-by-side.
As is, both CBS and the Times put greater credence in unnamed sources than they did in a person who attended the meeting.
In my day of running newsrooms, we were cautious about using unnamed sources in potentially controversial stories. If a story was ever challenged in court and we could not produce a source, the court could simply rule that we made it up.
The Zone 7 water agency’s latest newsletter disclosed costs for the repairs to the spillway at Oroville Dam. Emergency repairs ordered by the Dept. of Water Resources cost about $250 million, of which Zone 7’s share is $5 million. The state agency also let a contract for $275million for long term rebuilding that will cost Zone 7 ratepayers another $5.5 million. That assumes the rebuilding can be completed within the budget.
ESPN.com reported a father-son story with a nice local tie. Former NFL defensive lineman Greg Kragen grew up in Pleasanton and starred at Amador Valley High. The piece concerned his 24-year-old son, Kyle, who had been signed by the Carolina Panthers. Kragen played the final season of his 13-year career with the Panthers in the franchise’s first season as an expansion team.
While Greg, now 55, played defensive line—Kyle is a linebacker. What they share, beyond their genes, is both were undrafted after their college careers. Greg caught on with Denver and played nine seasons there—making the Pro Bowl and playing in three Super Bowls.
Kyle, who played for Cal, will go to training camp this summer and try to make the Panthers who are loaded with talent at his linebacking position.
Greg is coaching at Foothill Community College.