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Opinion: Media has responsibility to accuracy

The news media have the responsibility to present current events as accurately as they can, using reliable sources and verifying these sources.

Failure to present an accurate account or a skewed account of events is not only unethical, it is dangerous.

People at all levels including political and military leaders regularly use data from media to determine actions that can have dire effects on their lives. An “unnamed source who was not authorized to comment,” is not a reliable, verified source.

During the three-plus months that the war in Ukraine has been evolving, media of all types have almost unanimously declared that the Russians are not only losing, but losing badly. Go back and review articles form the New York Times, the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and a host of others to see if you can find something that says Russia might have a chance in the encounter.

Television interviews regularly began with the caveat, “In view of how badly things are going for Putin’s war machine…” followed by a question that confirms the hypothesis. Regardless which side you favor in a conflict, you should demand accurate information from those responsible for reporting it.

Consider the following:

According to Wikipedia, The Daily Telegraph is a national British daily broadsheet newspaper published in London and distributed across the United Kingdom and internationally. It was founded by Arthur B. Sleigh in 1855 as The Daily Telegraph & Courier. Con Coughlin is a British journalist and author, and is currently The Daily Telegraph defense editor. I found these headlines from some Coughlin articles compiled by several posters on line.

Feb. 24: “Vladimir Putin may just have made the error that ends his bloody rule”

April 3: “The West is beating Russia at its own game”

April 21: “Putin’s war has been a fiasco. It’s about to get worse”

May 5: “Humiliated Russia faces an epoch-defining defeat”

May 12: “Total victory over Putin cannot be bought cheap”

May 26: “Putin could be about to pull off a shock triumph”

It appears that most reporters at major papers and their “unnamed sources” have attended the Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf School of Journalism. You probably know Mr. Saeed al-Sahhaf better as Baghdad Bob.

How can this possibly happen?

“We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.”

— George Orwell

Rube Render is a former Clovis city commissioner and former chair of the Curry County Republican Party. Contact him:

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