Claudio Divizia, Adobe Stock
The phrase “the truth will out” has always been at home in American newsrooms where journalists dedicate their days to making it so.
WASHINGTON — The phrase “the truth will out” has always been at home in American newsrooms where journalists dedicate their days to making it so.
Sometimes Truth needs a little nudge, as was the case recently when an anti-media organization, absurdly named “Project Veritas,” apparently invented a story intended to impugn The Washington Post (and the media more broadly), while also helping Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore.
Briefly, the more aptly named “Pretext Veritas” and its creator, the self-regarding (bad) actor James O’Keefe, seem to have hired a woman to say that Moore impregnated her in 1992 and that she got an abortion at 15. As if you could forget, Moore has been accused by several women of molesting them when they were teens and he was in his 30s.
Jaime T. Phillips presented herself to Post reporters with her scandalous tale, apparently expecting them to concede the paper’s bias against Moore, and, voila, a scoop! O’Keefe surely would have raced to present his findings, all filmed on hidden camera, his usual modus operandi, and launched a fresh fundraising drive.
You see? O’Keefe’s mission has been to prove that the media are biased. While this may be true to the degree that all human beings carry biases, the Post’s editorial board isn’t coy about its positions. That said, the editorial and opinion pages shouldn’t be confused with the reportorial staff, which adheres to basic journalism tenets, including, “park your bias at the door.”
Essentially, Phillips baited the Post and the Post declined to play. Or, rather, the paper did what it’s supposed to do and checked out the story. This isn’t cause for trumpets and heraldry, mind you. It’s what journalists do. As opposed to what pseudo-journalists — also known as typists — claim they do. With a little footwork, Post reporters were able to trace Phillips to Project Veritas and demonstrated that her story was a fraud.
It was — you may now cue the horn section — FAKE NEWS.
Thanks to O’Keefe, the Post also showed a…