Wednesday, June 10, 2015


You probably know about this:
WAMU radio host Diane Rehm falsely stated in an interview with Bernie Sanders on Wednesday that the Vermont senator has dual Israeli citizenship.

In an unusual exchange in the middle of the interview with the recently declared 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, Rehm said she got the information about his alleged citizenship from a "list." ...

"Senator, you have dual citizenship with Israel," Rehm began, before Sanders interrupted.

"Well, no I do not have dual citizenship with Israel. I'm an American. I don't know where that question came from. I am an American citizen, and I have visited Israel on a couple of occasions. No, I'm an American citizen, period," Sanders said....

"I understand from a list we have gotten that you were on that list, forgive me if that is..." Rehm said.

As the site Jewish Journal noted, the list Rehm may be referring to seems to be one that has circulated on the Internet for several years concerning U.S. government officials and members of Congress who allegedly hold dual citizenship with Israel....

Rehm said in a statement she had read that Sanders was a dual citizen in a Facebook comment....
Rehm fell for this even though, in August of last year, an entire episode of her show was devoted to the topic "Judging the Credibility of News in the Digital Age." Here's how the show's website described the episode:
Americans are getting their news from more places than ever before. Besides traditional sources, we are turning to social media, email and even late-night TV to find out what’s happening in the world. And we are increasingly able to target news based on our interests and ideology. Some journalists worry the sheer volume of all that information is affecting our news literacy. They say we need to think critically about our daily media diet and ask more questions about who is producing and sourcing the news we consume and why. Diane and her guests discuss how to sort fact from fiction in the digital age.
At one point in the program, one guest, Tom Rosenstiel, the executive director of the American Press Institute, offered some tips for how to judge the credible of online news sources -- tips he's taught to teenagers:

So in one of my books -- a book called "Blur" -- we set out six questions that we think anyone could ask about any piece of content. And the reason that this movement of news literacy is so important and these questions are important is, precisely as Andy says, because the content is now disconnected from brand. So you can't -- it comes from some person. You don't know who they are. You need to be able to see, in this content, whether it's reliable. Because you can't just say, well I trust it because it's from the AP or from The New York Times or CNN.

So the questions can be asked in any order. It doesn't really matter. But they are, who is the source? Well, the first one actually is, what am I looking at? Is this designed to persuade? Is it an editorial? Is it a news story? The second one, who are the sources? And how did they know what they know? Is it first-hand, second-hand, third-hand? What evidence are they offering? What questions are unanswered by this? And finally, is there an alternative interpretation that -- and what evidence would suggest that?

Now that seems complicated. But I've done this with 15-year-old junior high schoolers. Once you get them thinking this way and say, so who's the source for this? They can circle that or identify it pretty easily.
Rehm then turns to another guest, investigative journalist Amanda Ripley, and asks what, in retrospect, seems like an embarrassing question:

But, Amanda, how many of us, as adults, go through those six questions?
Well, obviously, when it came to the list of alleged dual citizens, Rehm clearly skipped several of the six questions. I'm shaking my head.


theHatist said...

I think you got the punctuation wrong on a sentence above.

"Because you can't just say I trust it because it's from the AP or from The New York Times or CNN."

That looks better. Heh heh.

petrilli said...

As Atrios would say, "Time for another blogger ethics panel"

Because of course, this kind of carelessness never happened in the pre-digital glory days of Hard News reporting. Ask Richard Jewell.

Its truly painful to listen to Diane Rehm. She really needs to retire.

oc democrat said...


If you are going to quote it, Research who and what you are quoting, Especially if you are a respected reporter.

NO need for STENOGRAPHERS to check Anything!