When Fleet Street Goes Global

The factual standards of many British papers are not, shall we say, as rigorous as some in the US. Competition and all that. Inability to take politics that seriously. Need a better headline. You've all read Scoop. But the web makes all news sources seem interchangeable and without a little context, untruths can enter the bloodstream directly:

Democrats have a long list of grievances with the Telegraph, the most recent examples all traceable to [Tim] Shipman.

In the past year he reported that close allies of Gore were pushing him into the Democratic race to end the Clinton-Obama standoff, that former President Bill Clinton warned that Obama would have to “kiss his ass” to get an endorsement and that a source close to the new president worried that the insultingly cheap gift of DVDs he gave to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown meant that President Obama was “overwhelmed” by his job. Democrats who worked with those campaigns told TWI that these stories were, respectively, “a total lie,” “just not true,” and “something nobody thinks is true.”

Shipman is amused by the criticism. “I never report what I’m not told,” he said. “If I have one source who tells me this, I will write that in.”

That sounds about right.