Alan Dershowitz After BuzzFeed Report: Americans Are Victims of ‘Wishful Thinking’ Journalism

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz had some pointed criticism for BuzzFeed News after special counsel Robert Mueller’s office disputed one of its explosive reports.

BuzzFeed News’ report claimed that President Donald Trump directed his former attorney, Michael Cohen, to lie to investigators — prompting congressional Democrats to bring up impeachment.

It seemed to be the smoking gun they had been waiting for, but according to Dershowitz, the story was more the result of wishful thinking than solid reporting.

“As is typical of the ‘get Trump’ media, wishful thinking took the place of thoughtful analysis and journalistic skepticism,” Dershowitz wrote in a Fox News op-ed.

He added that “the American people are the real victims of ‘wishful thinking’ journalism – the reporting of items journalists wish were true rather than items that pass journalistic standards.”

As IJR previously noted, BuzzFeed News defended its story and the reporters who wrote it.

Dershowitz indicated it was absurd for BuzzFeed News to contradict the special counsel’s office:

Now that Mueller’s office has stated the BuzzFeed report that Trump told Cohen to lie to Congress about the negotiations was not accurate, how can the BuzzFeed possibly say the special counsel’s office is wrong?

Do the journalists at BuzzFeed know something the special counsel and his team of prosecutors and investigators don’t know? Do these reporters and editors think the special counsel is not being accurate? Or are they doubling down to avoid the embarrassment of admitting they were wrong?

The Harvard law professor further lamented that the “public has no way of discerning good reporting from wishful reporting.”

In response to BuzzFeed News’ reporting, Trump and others piled onto the outlet through Twitter.

Trump reminded followers of how BuzzFeed News also published the unverified and controversial dossier that contained salacious accusations against him.

Similarly to Dershowitz, Trump portrayed the incident as a blow to journalism in the country.

“A very sad day for journalism,” he tweeted.

What do you think?

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TOM
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Actually the “public” does have a way to discern good reporting from wishful reporting. Look for “anonymous source” or similar, that is a very plain giveaway that it is wishful reporting. If the “journalist” (as I gag) can’t or won’t clearly name where the information came from then s/he has no business reporting it as the information is nothing more than “fake news”.

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