Froomkin: Assume Administration Is Lying — And Uncritically Lap Up Anything Said by Administration Opponents
Dan Froomkin of the Washington Post has some interesting advice for journalists:
- Don’t assume anything administration officials tell you is true. In fact, you are probably better off assuming anything they tell you is a lie.
- Demand proof for their every assertion. Assume the proof is a lie. Demand that they prove that their proof is accurate.
- Just because they say it, doesn’t mean it should be make the headlines [sic] . . . .
He also advises “reasonable speculation” about hidden Administration motives.
Note that Froomkin is not merely advising general skepticism of all sources, which would be an admirable journalistic trait. He actually advises journalists to “assume” that Administration positions are lies.
The implicit corollary is that journalists should “assume” that Administration critics are telling the truth. And indeed, the Froomkin Doctrine calls for suspension of skepticism when the source is an Administration opponent:
- Give voice to the skeptics; don’t marginalize and mock them.
There’s nothing there about being skeptical of critics’ assertions, or demanding evidence from them, or speculating about their motives.
I’m all for skepticism, but this isn’t skepticism. This is anti-Administration bias, pure and simple, dressed up as skepticism.
It’s a good thing that the actual journalists working for the Washington Post aren’t following Froomkin’s prescriptions. Otherwise, they might throw all their skepticism out the window when taking information from Administration critics, like Carl Levin.
Yeah, it’s a good thing that they don’t do that! Because that could be embarrassing!
P.S. Froomkin is a liberal columnist. I figured you knew that, but in case you didn’t, there you go.