The Credibility Rule
I like to believe in what I call the credibility rule of blogging. Simply put:
If we want to be taken credibly as journalists as we blog – we have a responsibility to ensure that we don’t spew nonsense – particularly if we have a political agenda.
Karl Rove Indicted?
On Saturday, Jason Leopold, writing at truthout wrote that sources had informed him that Karl Rove had been indicted for perjury and lying to investigators over the Valerie Plame Wilson CIA leak case.
This was after a posting on Friday, where Leopold wrote that Karl Rove had informed President Bush that he was to be indicted shortly.
The Blogosphere Storm
Before long, the story was all over the blogosphere, particularly what I’ll call the “leftist blogosphere”. Technorati even setup a separate page to rack the conversation about Rove’s potential indictment.
The problem, of course, is that this all turned out to be untrue. Rove hasn’t been indicted.
Bias & Lost Credibility
Truthout, of course, is a blog site that appears to fall rather to the left side of the political spectrum. The homepage is covered with pictures about Mothers saying No to War, Green Politics, and Red Revolution links. Certainly not the place I would expect to find breaking news of Rove’s pending indictment – at least not with any level of credibility.
The author of the story, freelance writer Jason Leopold, seems to be working his way down the media chain; going from respectable outlets like The Wall Street Journal and The Los Angeles Times, to online magazine Salon, and now a kooky site like Truthout. There’s a reason his work isn’t featured anywhere else – he’s already been busted down by as a plagiarist and fabricator of material, and as Howard Kurtz reports: he’s engaged in “lying, cheating and backstabbing,” is a former cocaine addict, served time for grand larceny, repeatedly tried to kill himself and has battled mental illness his whole life.
Wishing doesn’t make it happen
I don’t know if Karl Rove committed a crime or not – that’s not the point of this post.
If you want to be taken seriously as a blogger – then be a serious blogger. Find good sources, get others to corroborate their stories, and then post them. After all, that’s what real journalists do.
And if you have a political bias, either hide it or disclose it.
Matt Craven is the former editor & publisher of The Blog Herald. Currently, Matt is the co-founder of Bryghtpath LLC, a consulting practice located in Woodbury, Minnesota. Matt's presently looking for new blogging gigs. Ping him at matt (at) bryghtpath dot com. You can follow him on Twitter.