X and Lazy ‘Journalism’

One of the lowest forms of ‘journalism’ is going to X (formerly Twitter), searching for things to be outraged about from anonymous accounts, and then writing articles using those examples.

Two articles in the Washington Post recently did just this. After reviewing some of the posts the authors cite, I found that one quote was attributed to an account marked ‘parody,’ and another had two followers, both of which were spam accounts. The account with the largest following cited in these articles – assuming these numbers aren’t inflated by bots – is anonymous, as are the other examples.

These are clearly trolls, and they’re even described as such in the Post’s opinion article. But what kind of trolls are they? Are these the Russians again? Do these folks sincerely believe in what they’re saying? Are they saying these things for the same reason people fake hate crimes? Most likely, they’re just losers who are laughing for causing such a stir. No one would ever quote an account called ANONYMOUSMORON for praise of something, so why hate speech? Anonymous accounts spouting opinions are simply invalid sources of information.

The Post has fallen for this before, with the Little Mermaid (which Reason Magazine debunked), with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dancing, and with a heavily edited video of the Covington Catholic School kids. In each of these cases, the initial source of the information was from an unreliable X account (plus an unreliable witness with Covington).

Meanwhile, others at The Post are sometimes quick to jump on stories of fake accounts.

Citing random and anonymous X users – especially just a couple of them – as ‘proof’ of something is journalistic malpractice and falls short of basic standards. It’s disgusting that it keeps happening and that these folks get away with it.