What is the meaning of the newspaper motto: All the News That’s Fit to Print?

Put on your pressman’s newspaper hat and pretend that you are the editor. What would you do?

On a Tuesday afternoon major news organizations were reporting that both President Obama and President-elect Trump had been briefed on an “unsubstantiated” report that Russia had collected “compromising and salacious personal information” on Trump. The document even contained verifiable errors.

The New York Times was reporting Tuesday afternoon, “The material was not corroborated, and The New York Times has not been able to confirm the claims. But intelligence agencies considered it so potentially explosive that they decided Mr. Obama, Mr. Trump and congressional leaders needed to be told about it and informed that the agencies were actively investigating it.”

BuzzFeed posted the 35-page document that reportedly was compiled by a person who claiming to be a former British intelligence official, while noting, “The allegations are unverified, and the report contains errors.”

What is the difference between this and a rumor?

The salacious aspect included claims Trump hired prostitutes at Russian hotels. The compromising aspect involved efforts to financially entice and entangle him for the purposes of blackmail. The Kremlin denied it.

For some reason the Las Vegas morning newspaper decided to not print anything about this report, but it did post online at 9:38 p.m., well before what should be its print deadline, an AP account that included a Trump tweet calling the whole account: “FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!”

The New York Times has a motto: All the News That’s Fit to Print. It’s editors saw fit to print, but for some reason the editors at the Las Vegas newspaper did not. Or did they simply fumble the ball?

As usual Trump went on a Twitter rampage. Here are the latest posts as they appear on his feed:


Whether the salacious stuff is worthy of reporting is a good question for an ethic debate, but Trump’s strained ties with the intelligence community should not be ignored.

According to the AP account:

The report had been circulating in Washington for months. In October, former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid wrote the FBI asking the bureau to publicly disclose what it knew about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. Reid was aware of the dossier before he wrote the letter, according to a person knowledgeable about the subject who spoke on condition of anonymity because this person was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

Trump just held a press conference. Here is a clip on this topic:



24 comments on “What is the meaning of the newspaper motto: All the News That’s Fit to Print?

  1. deleted says:

    I wonder Thomas, what the debate was within the Review Journals hierarchy about reporting on then “president” George bush’s comments about “the 16 words”?

    Because, as we all knew then, even the intelligence services in this country told the “president” repeatedly, that the report was a lie. And yet, I don’t remember any soul searching columns back then, wondering aloud about the ethics of reporting that information as if it were fact.

    Maybe my memory is fading though.

  2. Those words were in the SOTU and “questions” about their accuracy did not come out for several years.

  3. deleted says:

    And what efforts were made to verify them? I mean, by the newspaper?

    Or was this information, like most of the information “provided” to the media simply reproduced on the pages of the RJ without any effort to verify whether the information was true or not?

    I mean, when did the fact that someone said something become “the news”, rather than whether what the person said was true?

    And I know this entire “we’re just publishing what someone said” as the story wasn’t limited to the RJ, but where was the soul searching then I wonder, and especially after it was clear that the people who provided the information were just blatantly lying?

  4. Steve says:

    More “but you did it first” garbage from the far far far lefty wingnut contingent.

  5. Bill says:

    Drudge says the original source of the story was claimed by 4Chan to be 4Chan. 4Chan claims To Have Fabricated the anti-Trump Report as hoax, Don’t know if Drudge and/or 4Chan are telling the truth. If, as 4Chan claims this was a hoax, then there is ample reason for Trump and the American public to question the reliability of anything that they read or watch from the media. Evidently, the NY Times exercised journalistic integrity by not running the story because it was not verified.

    4Chan Claims To Have Fabricated Anti-Trump Report As A Hoax. http://tiny.iavian.net/emxa Download Drudge Report from Google Play Store. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.iavian.dreport

  6. Steve says:

    4Chan is making some pretty big claims on very weak evidence.

  7. Bill says:

    Don’t quite understand Steve. What weak evidence as to 4Chan’s claim?

    4Chan is hardly a right wing organization. For the moment, I’ll treat it as I do claims by ISIS as to atrocities. I’m not going to go out of my way to disprove their claim of ownership of irresponsible acts.

    Whether it is a 4Chan hoax or a Security Agency leak, the story, at this point, appears to be false. The story that the Russians have evidence of Trump commissioning hookers to do naughty things, in a Moscow hotel, in beds used by the Obamas, is on its face, unbelievable.

    Anyone with any public profile knows that when traveling abroad and even in the United States that you must not commit indiscretions in hotels. Some of our own Nevada politicians have reportedly learned this the hard way.

    Even though there was no real evidence to support they story and even though, at this point, it has been discredited, the damage has already been done. There will be a significant number of people who will accept that story as true and another segment, who, while not believing it, will use it for political purposes.
    And as with any false narrative, any future disclaimer is always ineffective. Added to all of this, we have a media and press corps that is hardly pro-Trump. And too, we will have the usual misleading headlines and editing and a public tha too often reads only the headlines and not the story.

  8. deleted says:

    I remember practically every media outlet in the country reporting that nearly every bush administration official with a mouth said that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and were ready to use them at a moments notice on the US too.

    And of course, not a single one of those outlets, including our local hometown paper, did a lick of in pendent investigation to determine whether those lies were the truth; but then again, they just published the “story” that someone had said it.

    Not much difference here except one story took the entire country to war, and one story cast the Donald in a less than favorable light.

  9. Steve says:

    Trouble with 4Chan claim is they are basing it on an anonymous post from several months ago. It alludes to stuff done while in Russia.
    But other sites also had some info before the anonymous 4chan post being used to make the claim for responsibility.

    As for 4Chan…they have a long history of sketchy activity.

    The real problem is the severely right extreme biased sites are leaping on the 4 Chan claim as if to totally absolve Trump and even the Russians.

    As usual, it takes time for reality to take hold.


  10. deleted says:

    By the way Thomas, it was barely 2 months after the president uttered the lie, that CNN reported that it was a lie.


    Any recollection as to how this news was reported at the RJ?

  11. Don’t recall and R-J archives are the pits. If it was reported by wires, we’d’ve printed it w/o hesitation.

  12. Steve says:

    Wait, what?
    It does seem to appear Patrick is now defending Trump and his claims the Security Community is wrong?
    A topsy turvy world we now find around us.

  13. Bill says:

    Even the most tortured thinking cannot equate the infamous 16 words with the current flap over the Buzz Feed/CNN/Trump/Russia flap. Bush was the POTUS when he made the statement and there is not a news agency in the world (let alone a regional paper like the RGJ) that has the resources to “fact check” a statement that was made in an address by the POTUS. What a POTUS says is the news itself. And, if I recall correctly, it was after the statement was made and the subsequent allegation by Valerie Plume’s(?) husband that it was not a true statement that the federal government instituted an investigation.

    Those events cannot be equated to the publication, without checking or verification, alleging an essentially unbelievable story from an anonymous and doubtful source that the Russia had blackmail evidence of perversion in a Moscow Hotel and that one of Trump’s attorneys had met with Russian in Prague.

    Publishing unreliable and uncorroborated stories as fact there by elevating them to fact in the minds of many may or not be good journalism. (Hello Rolling Stone).

    What is further incomprehensible is our intelligence service making a supposedly classified report of the accusations against the President Elect and then leaking the existence of such a report and its content to the media.

    If the story was leaked by our U. S. Intelligence Sources then that is news that should concern every American. It is most distressing for it is both unlawful and unethical. It would, to coin a pun, be a case of where “politics trumps integrity”.

  14. Steve says:

    Still early but, that “golden shower” story had been circulating DC media types for several months.

    It’s very interesting they actually sat on it as long as they did.

    But it now has gained legs because the originator has been unmasked, read the link I posted.

  15. deleted says:

    Ok so the fact that a president speaks, presumably about a topic of import at least is newsworthy, and can be published without independent verification that what he has spewed is true. I suspect that in the coming months those who advocate this position will learn the lesson that the media should have learned after the Iraq travesty.

    The question is then; is a report from the highest levels of this government’s intelligence service, relating to potential issues of the compromise of our president elect by a foreign power, an issue that can be published without the publisher being attacked because they did not or could not fact check the story completely?

    According to some incredibly biased observers, the answer is no.

    Why would that be by the way? I mean, “free markets” and all, wouldn’t libertarians and their fellow travelers be ENCOURAGING this sort of “liberty” constrained only b the “wisdom” of the free market? And since when are “ethics” a separate part of the equation? I don’t remember Adam Smith suggesting (and God knows neither Ayn Rand or her minions) that businesses owed any ethical duties to anyone.

  16. deleted says:

    It’s also pathetic that, after 8 years of nonsensical, contradicted, nothing but motivated blasphemies about President Obama’s religious beliefs that “allegedly” would have influenced his actions toward “Muslim” countries, that the right now “strenuously objects” to charges leveled against the president-elect that he may be compromised by certain perverted sexual acts that took place in a country that, for over 70 years has been seen as this country’s enemy number 1.

    Oddly, the president elect has got to be, other than by the Koch brothers father maybe, the single American politician that says how great Russia’s dictator is, and how we really ought to be much closer to him.

    I’m sure it’s just a very happy coincidence though.

  17. Bill says:

    The report was an agency “report” of a rumored non agency report making what amounted to wild, salacious and uncorroborated allegations. It was not a public document and supposedly only was a report to a limited audience to the effect that certain unsubstantiated allegations were circulating. Leaking the existence of the report and repetition of the unsubstantiated allegations had the effect of making news out of false news. This is not a new tactic and in my humble opinion is not good journalism. I am also puzzled by your Dragging Adam Smith and Capitalism into the discussion. I can only respond by giving my favorite citation. MacBeth, Act 5, Scene 5, page 2. And with that, good night.

  18. Steve says:

    Funnier still, BuzzFeed was just told by their editor they needed to stop being so partisan in their reporting and social media posts.

    That worked well, huh?

  19. deleted says:

    Just so I can get this clear then Bill, a report, from the nations intelligence services, that is based on information gained through unsubstantiated reporting, ought NOT be reported but information gained by this nations intelligence services that is EXPRESSLY DEEMED TO BE COMPLETE AND UTTER FALSEHOOD, by those intelligence services, is not only entitled to be uttered by our president during SOTU addresses, THOSE addresses that contain unsubstantiated and expressly contradicted reports, OUGHT to be covered without the need for fact checking, on the pages of any media that can buy ink.


  20. deleted says:

    Wall Street Journal?

    “For shame!”

    “A former British intelligence officer who is now a director of a private security-and-investigations firm has been identified as the author of the dossier of unverified allegations about President-elect Donald Trump’s activities and connections in Russia, people familiar with the matter say.”


  21. Steve says:

    I posted that hours ago from the Telegraph.

    you way behind, shammy

  22. Rincon says:

    Over the years, I have seen the words, allegations and alleged in news stories more times than I can count with no complaints in this space. These words are used every time the filing of a lawsuit is reported or when someone is accused of committing a crime. Should the media stay quiet about all civil and criminal trials until a verdict is reached? Sounds like a double standard to me.

  23. Steve says:

    Again, it takes time for reality to take hold.

    “All of which is to say to everyone: slow down, and take a deep breath. We shouldn’t assume either that this is simply a “fake news” episode directed at discrediting Trump or that the dam has now broken and the truth is coming out at last. We don’t know what the reality is here, and the better part of valor is not to get ahead ahead of the facts—a matter on which, incidentally, the press deserves a lot of credit.”


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