On Dec. 29, “BPI settles suit with ABC” was The Sioux City Journal’s second most important story of 2017. Inside, Kathleen Parker’s Opinion page column was headlined “Facts and truth matter most of all.”
Ms. Parker rightly cites the Washington Post’s role in publishing the “Pentagon Papers” as an example of moral courage. I’ll forgive Ms. Parker for stating that the “Pentagon Papers” included the Nixon administration. Fact is, Daniel Ellsberg’s story only covered the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. This is what is known as a journalistic mistake in an otherwise good column. It happens, and should only cause us to wish for more assiduous editors.
On the other hand, ABC’s “pink slime” story was not a mistake. It was, in my opinion, a malicious misinformation and disinformation campaign regarding BPI’s product, with the intent to cause severe harm.
Unfortunately, both of the above conditions abound in media coverage of current events.
My wish for the new year is that journalists will fact-check themselves more carefully, and that journalists will have the moral courage to break ranks with the “groupthink” of their time, just as Daniel Ellsberg, Ben Bradlee and Katherine Graham did over 40 years ago. - Mike Welsh, Sioux City