Slate examines the story of an Associated Press reporter who made up people and quotes for his stories for 32 months before he was caught. It’s a funny and interesting look into the news-gathering/creating business. The thing is that Newton only went a few steps beyond what most reporters do, albeit he went clearly over the line.
Most of the time, when a reporter wants to make sure you see a particular opposing viewpoint in a story, especially when it’s his own viewpoint, he’ll ascribe to a vague source. “Some critics say” is a common one. For example: “The Bush administration has raised funding for XYZ Agency. Some critics say the increase is an election ploy.” In other words, the reporter is telling you that he thinks it is an election ploy. Either that or he is assuming that’s what the critics would say if had the time to find them before he filed his story.
And that’s today’s look inside the news business.