Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Blowing It

Ed Bott for ZD Net in a smart piece about the journalistic failings of the Washington Post about the PRISM story:

The biggest problem was that the Post took a leaked PowerPoint presentation from a single anonymous source and leaped to conclusions without supporting evidence. McCullagh quotes one of his named (not anonymous) sources, former general counsel of the NSA Stewart Baker, as saying the slides look “flaky”:

“The PowerPoint is suffused with a kind of hype that makes it sound more like a marketing pitch than a briefing — we don’t know what its provenance is and we don’t know the full context,” Baker said. He added, referring to the Post’s coverage: “It looks rushed and it looks wrong.”

“Rushed” would indeed be the best way to describe why the Post story changed so dramatically in a 24-hour period. Normally, an investigative piece like this would be reported thoroughly before being published. Instead, it looks like the Post rushed to publish, perhaps fearing that the slide deck had been leaked to another publication that would beat them to the punch.

It has become clear that massive scoops like this are going increasingly unchecked for fear that the publication will miss the ability to break the news.