Substituting Their Judgment For Yours

Merrill Perlman captures in From cyberattacks to fake news: notable recent changes in AP style my complaint on reference free reporting.

Perlman quotes a recent change in Associated Press (AP) style:

Holding politicians and public figures accountable for their words often requires reporting or research to verify facts that affirm or disprove a statement, or that show a gray area.

Fact-checking also is essential in debunking fabricated stories or parts of stories done as hoaxes, propaganda, jokes or for other reasons, often spread widely on the internet and mistaken as truth by some news consumers.

The term fake news may be used in quotes or as shorthand for the modern phenomenon of deliberate falsehoods or fiction masked as news circulating on the internet.

However, do not label as fake news specific or individual news items that are disputed.

In all cases, the goal of fact-checking is to push back on falsehoods, exaggeration and political spin. Be specific in describing what is false and back up those descriptions with facts.

… (emphasis added)

I would extend the AP’s

Be specific in describing what is false and back up those descriptions with facts.


Be specific in describing what is false, back up those descriptions with facts, with links/references to resources for those facts.

Absent links/references for facts, I see two parties, both wanting to foist their judgment on “facts” onto me.

I appreciate the effort to save me from thinking for myself, but no thanks.

The absence of links/references to third-party resources is proof of intent to usurp the reader’s judgment.

The same reasoning applies to leak publishers who decide what you should or should not be allowed to see.

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