Niall Ferguson’s Newsweek cover story on President Obama exemplifies a deficiency in today’s media. As criticism of Ferguson’s shoddy work mounted — both from outside and inside of Newsweek/The Daily Beast —Newsweek explained to Politico's Dylan Byers that Newsweek ”rel[ies] on our writers to submit factually accurate material.” Indeed, Byers also noted that Newsweek does not even have a fact-checking department.
This admission is disturbing on face. Newsweek wants to sell you stories and news about the world but can’t even be bothered to check the claims it publishes. Even worse, they didn’t seem all that uncomfortable with the admission. Newsweek's defense is that others are this lackadaisical at journalism, which is to say Newsweek has no defense. In a media environment without fact-checkers, it’s no wonder we have fabulists and problems with factsand the media. But there’s a more pernicious ramification of Newsweek's abdication of journalistic practices: This is what the predatory conservative echo-chamber and Fox News count on.