One of the latest stories and a ‘scoop’ from the Washington Post Online is this story on an alleged confidential House ethics committee report found on a P2P file sharing network.
Dozens in Congress under ethics inquiry screams the headline. The article goes on to ‘report’ on the title and contents of the ‘report’ but fails in producing the document.
This is a classic “Where’s the Beef” problem. A 22 page document is not that heavy in size for hosting, downloading or viewing. Unless of course it is a word doc chock full of metadata goodness.
According to the article this is a report from July. Certainly not breaking news by any stretch of the imagination even for a moron in a hurry. The story is all bun and no meat at this point. A Google search brings up a lot articles discussing it, but all point to a single source, the Washington Post.
Journalism reporters, teachers and editors all say that single sourcing a story is bad. Think Jayson Blair of the New York Times.
This is not journalism, this is marketing. Think page views. This is the type of story that would fly in the dead tree world to get you to buy the next edition, but online is a different animal. There are hyperlinks to the Representatives mentioned in the story, but no document. Aside from the single source problem, the story does not even validate the document’s authenticity.
Where’s the Beef? It is not like allegations haven’t been used to create news.
The 4th paragraph of the article provides a get out of jail free card:
Shortly after 6 p.m. Thursday, the committee chairman, Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), interrupted a series of House votes to alert lawmakers about the breach. She cautioned that some of the panel’s activities are preliminary and not a conclusive sign of inappropriate behavior.
“No inference should be made as to any member,” she said.
The last paragraph does not validate the document either.
Leo Wise, chief counsel for the Office of Congressional Ethics, declined to comment, citing office policy against confirming or denying the existence of investigations. A Justice Department spokeswoman also declined to comment, citing a similar policy.
That quote is stenography and not journalism either.
Where’s the Beef?