Washington Post columnist Dan Froomkin has put together a 10-point checklist to help journalists avoid drinking Bush’s Iranian-flavored Kool-Aid. The first point, in four parts, is below.
You Can’t Be Too Skeptical of Authority
Don’t assume anything administration officials tell you is true. In fact, you are probably better off assuming anything they tell you is a lie.
Demand proof for their every assertion. Assume the proof is a lie. Demand that they prove that their proof is accurate.
Just because they say it, doesn’t mean it should be make the headlines. The absence of supporting evidence for their assertion—or a preponderance of evidence that contradicts the assertion—may be more newsworthy than the assertion itself.
Don’t print anonymous assertions. Demand that sources make themselves accountable for what they insist is true.