As we approach the elections, news stories become increasingly easy to confuse with political advertisements. Though I’m generally a huge fan of fiction, when it comes to political reporting, I find myself in the Joe Friday camp.
That’s right Ma’am, just the facts.
When a news story involves a candidate’s claims of past successes, I expect the claims will be confirmed by the news source, and the results of this fact-checking will be included in the story. By definition, news sources should be involved in verifying their sources, in substantiating claims, in authenticating, & corroborating.
This brings me to celebrate once more, the synonyms entries found in any decent, grown-up dictionary. My 1959 Webster’s New World Dictionary offers these synonyms & definitions for verify. These words, I submit, provide a healthy mantra for reporters, readers, listeners & viewers during this election season.
confirm is to establish as true, that which was doubtful or uncertain
substantiate suggests the producing of evidence that proves or tends to prove the validity of a previous assertion or claim
corroborate suggests the strengthening of one statement or testimony by another
to verify is to prove to be true or correct by investigation, comparison with a standard, or reference to ascertainable facts
authenticate provides proof of genuineness by an authority or expert
validate implies official confirmation of the validity of something
Dear followers, please respond by either complimenting news sources you’ve found that seem to see the above as part of the day’s work, or mentioning those sources that flagrantly ignore the above responsibilities. You might also suggest other mantras that might help us in these politically polarized times.