As you can read in the previous post about our November 4 edition, I made a mistake at the beginning of the show that illustrates how easily misinformation can be passed along in this instantaneous-communication environment.
Noticing a breaking story on Chicago HuffPo that looked like a provocative way to open our discussion, I repeated the report claiming Bill Brady was advocating Cook County’s secession from Illinois. None of our well-informed guests had heard the story. But I invited them to gleefully jump on it and have some fun with it. The only problem: it turned out not to be true.
As a weekly discussion program that places a heavy emphasis on media, we’d have a grand time poking fun at another shop for making the same mistake. What’s that old Golden Rule of journalism about checking out your mother’s declaration of her love?
Do “talk show” hosts have the same journalistic responsibilities as newsroom-based reporters? Should they? Well, we all know that cable-news shops and talk-radio thrive on that instantaneous reaction to the latest rumor and potential scandal. Sometimes that excited impulse to rush to air with the latest tidbit isn’t the smartest impulse. We inadvertently did the same thing, passing along bad information.
I hope, as host, to do better next time.