In journalism, we validate statements. Period. That’s the whole job. For about 100 years, the essence of journalistic education has been to teach elementary discipline about the handling of facts, like the need for multiple independent sources. This training is how our industry gets useful work out of employees whose judgment, intelligence and veracity readers otherwise would have no reason to trust. As recent events have proved, let these disciplines slip even a bit, let reporters fall back on their native judgment and instincts and preferred “narratives,” and readers quickly learn just how well-founded such distrust is.
For any “intelligence community” worth the name, or any other astute inquisitor, the question long since would have become: How did Mr. Steele, a foreign national secretly promoting wholly unsubstantiated claims from anonymous alleged foreign sources, manage to so scandalize and disrupt our politics for two years with fabricated accusations? Our intelligence community is not interested in this question because the answers would embarrass and likely incriminate its own members.
Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., What Mueller Won’t Say