That most basic element of strong journalism would be helpful as media keep spinning reports of "anti-Muslim backlash" after the Paris and San Bernardino attacks.
As you may recall, I criticized the Houston Chronicle last week for squishy, speculative reporting after an arson fire at a storefront mosque:
My plea for journalists pursuing the "Muslim backlash" story: Do some actual reporting.
Yes, treat Muslims (and other people of faith) with fairness and respect. By all means, listen to their concerns, and report them fully. But don't ditch normal, necessary journalistic skepticism and investigative techniques for the sake of a politically correct storyline.
So what happened not long after the Texas newspaper's big Page 1 story on the fire stirring fears in the Muslim community? Police arrested a suspect who claims to be a devout Muslim who regularly worshiped at the torched mosque.
Hmmm, that fact changes the storyline a bit, huh?
Earlier, the Seattle newspaper publicized online speculation that the teen was the victim of an "anti-Muslim hate crime." Speculation, of course, involves "the forming of a theory or conjecture without firm evidence." That's not exactly a recipe for quality journalism.