Everyday, millions of people post messages online.
For most of them, it doesn’t matter if the words are true, false, or anything more than a Facebook status update.
But if you’re a respected blogger working for a topflight news organisation, Fox Business’ Charlie Gasparino says that you might want to double-check your facts before publishing a story.
“While some of the stuff is really good, I’ve seen some horrendous practices in the blogosphere,” Gasparino told Benzinga during a recent interview. “For example, this guy in Reuters wrote something about me a couple months ago. His name is Felix Salmon.”
Salmon is a financial journalist and blogging editor for Reuters. When Benzinga interviewed him in October, Salmon recapped the story of how he got into a social media feud with Henry Blodget, the CEO of Business Insider.
“I was like, what does this have to do with anything?” he said, referring to a story on American International Group, which was illustrated using a photo of two women kissing. “This very quickly grew into a debate about sensationalism, link trolling, and doing anything for page views.”
Despite Salmon’s effort to avoid the lure of sensationalistic reporting, Gasparino is disappointed with his urgency to run with a story before checking his facts.
“His story was 100% wrong,” Gasparino said. “He didn’t call me till after he published the story. He relied on one source. And I think he was able to get away with it, because I did speak with his supervisors because of the blog.
“And this is Reuters! Reuters is a topflight – allegedly topflight – news organisation. If that’s the standard now at Reuters, that a reporter can literally put on your site or whatever, and Reuters will put its stamp of approval on a one-source story, where there were many, many facts wrong, and where the reporter literally asks for your comments after he publishes it…” Gasparino is speechless.
Actions like that, Gasparino said, would have gotten him fired at the Wall Street Journal. “Fox Business would never allow you to do that,” he adds. “If you’re gonna do a one-source story on somebody, you better make sure you call that person before you write it or publish it. Reuters allowed this story to get published. And you see a little bit too much of that.”
This isn’t the first time a major news organisation jumped the gun and published a story before checking the facts. Just last week, several outlets – including Business Insider and the Huffington Post – published a story about WikiLeaks and Bank of America Corporation that proved to be false.
However, this doesn’t mean that Gasparino has sworn off blogs entirely. “Blogs are a great idea,” he said. “There’s a freedom to it. I don’t believe that you need the stamp of approval from the New York Times or any of the big papers to be a journalist. And because we have blogs and a new way of communicating, we have diversity of opinion and it’s great.”
To hear more from the Fox Business correspondent – including his thoughts on personal and professional investments – don’t miss Benzinga’s full interview with Charlie Gasparino.
Part 1: Getting Down to Business With Charlie Gasparino, Senior Correspondent with Fox Business Network
Part 2: Getting Down to Business With Charlie Gasparino
Update: Felix Salmon responds to Gasparino accusations: “Gasparino has a standing invitation to respond in as much detail and at as much length as he likes, with the response appearing on that particular blog entry, or elsewhere on my blog, or on his blog, or anywhere he wants. So far, he has consistently refused to say anything on the record about the incident in question.” Read more here.
— Louis Bedigian
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