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Doin' it wrong


We here at ye olde Yr Wonkette are not A Journalist. Which does not mean we do not know how journalism is formed. We (yr editrix Rebecca Schoenkopf) went to journalism school, for journalism, and then taught college journalism students how to do journalism too. We (yr executive editor Kaili Joy Gray) were the tyrannical opinion page editor of our college paper, where our tone was “a bit much” and also “super fucking bitchy,” but thank the lord God invented blogging, where those are features, not bugs.

So anyway and anyhow. Just because we call people dumb a-holes and smirking fucktons of maggot-infested squirrel shit squeezed into a half-fuckton skin sack and other creative things, and we don't have anyone on staff to stalk the halls of Congress to BREAKING EXCLUSIVE SCOOP report to you that Paul Ryan has a beard now, that doesn't mean we don't know some 101 things and stuffs about how journalism is supposed to work. And also how it is supposed to not work.

Don't Be A Dick

We very much enjoy being A Dick to people who deserve it. But that's the point: They deserve it. Exposing and humiliating private individuals who never did nothin' to no one is, generally speaking, a real dick move of absolutely no journalistic value.

For example: Outing a private citizen as A Gay, when that private citizen is not one a them closeted anti-gay Republican hypocrites who spends his in-public life trying to make being A Gay illegal, while trying to score some secret hot gay sex in his private life, or sometimes in a public bathroom of an airport in oh, say, Minnesota? That's not journalism. That is fucked up is what that is, GAWKER.

Listen up, future Woodwards and Bernsteins of America (yes, after you Google who the hell those guys are; go on, we'll wait): Don't waste your time, column inches, or pixelated barrels of ink on that nonsense. Especially not when there are so many people out there, in the public sphere, doing real bad stuff, just begging to be exposed and humiliated. They deserve it.

[contextly_sidebar id="WmZ4FFiby139QMbmYZvNf3C7xaJuQ54p"]For another example: When a private citizen shoots a bunch of people dead, for non-specific terrorist reasons, and goes from Private Joe Schmo to That Som'bitch Who Murdered A Bunch Of People, don't be a dick to his mom. When NBC News reporter Kerry Sanders rummaged through the apartment of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook, and flashed his mother's driver's license and Social Security card on live TV, unredacted in any way? Dick move!

We are sure Mrs. Syed Farook's Mom is very sorry her son and his wife murdered a bunch of people. We are equally sure she didn't deserve to have her private information broadcast across America so some intrepid reporter could be "FIRST!!!1!" with the breaking news of the killer's mother's eye color and claimed weight. That's not using the power of the Fourth Estate for good. That's just being A Dick. Don't do that.

Don't Be Wrong

Journalism is hard, and not in that whiny leave Britney Spears alonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnne!!! way. It is for real hard. Do it long enough, and you're guaranteed to get something wrong, at some point, and have to correct yourself and say "Sorry, our bad, we regret the error." Hopefully, the error will not be of such irreparable weapons of mass destruction proportions that you accidentally get your country stuck in an endless war in the Iraq, JUDITH MILLER.

That is why, when you are doing journalism, you check your work. Then you check it again. The bigger the story, the harder you check it. So you don't, ya know, end up accusing the wrong goddamned guy, who turns out to be a genuine U.S. American terrorist-fighting hero, of being a murderous terrorist, THE DAILY BEAST:[contextly_sidebar id="BDqGvXa9CU8PzUxLm7KgfZsdZecBF8Tp"]

For hours, they kept insisting they had the right man, because he was linked (they said) by public record to his mother’s home in Redlands. [...]

The Daily Beast finally appended a correction to its story at 1:41 a.m. The article is a mess, and not just because it spelled both Syed and Farook about 15 different ways, but because for what ended up being no reason at all, it was mostly an at-home scene with what The Daily Beast finally determined was the shooter’s brother.

Also? If Wonkette tells you, "Yo, fellow The Media outlet on the interweb, you have the wrong guy," you might want to not take quite so many hours to quintuple check that. Pro tip and you're welcome.

If you do manage to screw up a story so badly you have to retract the whole thing -- like, for example, a horrific tale of a gang rape at a fraternity on a certain university campus -- you do not blame the victim (or "victim") because you did bad reporting and bad fact-checking. That is both being wrong and being a dick, ROLLING STONE: [contextly_sidebar id="g0t9kyS1bbW60LWedjpdyyGKVcm9yJAv"]

And while Rolling Stone is now extra sorry for running a story it should not have run, it also appears to be sticking by its story of who’s to blame for its journalistic failure, despite the report’s finding that the failure lies squarely with Rolling Stone, whose decision to simply trust Jackie, without verifying her story, is Not Good Journalism [...]

So, what have we all learned from this? That Jackie is a hell of a “storyteller,” so powerful that she was able to manipulate Rolling Stone into simply repeating her story without bothering to verify any of it at all. That journalists cannot possibly be sensitive to a rape victim’s story AND do good journalism at the same time. That the humiliation of having to retract a story is punishment enough for the reporter and editors who failed so spectacularly at their jobs.

Don't be wrong, The Media, but for fuck's sake, if you are wrong, don't be a dick about it. That just makes you extra wrong.

Don't Be The New York Times

Oh, The New York Times, how we love to hate you. And not just the Maureen Dowd part of you, even though that part is especially bad, according to Vice President Joe Biden and everyone else in the world. Your trend pieces -- some chicks like to wear granny panties, for feminism! -- are fucking THE WORST. But your decades-long unapologetic frothing hatred of The Clintons is even more THE WORST than that. Sure, we expect the gossip-fueled "Clintons Did A Bad Because Clintons!" genre from holier-than-thou True Progressive Purity Trolls and their strange bedfellows at Drudge and its various coke-fueled rage monkey internet progenies.

But one might expect more from the takes-itself-oh-so-seriously pages of our newspaper of record, which tsk-tsked Yr Wonkette this year for being good at irony, like Banksy, but with words, and in a bad way that doesn't meet the stick-up-the-butt self-congratulatory faux highbrow bullshit standards of the The Times.

[contextly_sidebar id="0FazwMmLvYIGpefvbBuLtPVg0rsDI1aT"]In 2015, the The Times swung into even higher gear than usual on its "LOOK! CLINTON! BAD STUFF!" stories. In July, the paper quite breathlessly reported this late-night EXCLUSIVE: "Criminal Inquiry Sought in Clinton’s Use of Email." Whoa if true, except it wasn't. Which the The Times quickly realized and started editing its story here and there and in the lede and in the headline and throughout the whole article, without bothering to inform its readers that the ZOMG! headline already spread across the entire internet was not intended to be a factual statement.

Good thing no one would care much about a front-running presidential candidate being investigated for doing crimes. Except for oh wait, just kidding, of course everyone would. At least the paper promptly corrected itself ... several days later. And then apologized for the mistakes that were made even though no one at the publication could quite puzzle out "how the discrepancy arose." The discrepancy being the allegation -- no doubt anonymously whispered to the The Times by a Republican on the House Benghazi Committee To Stop The Election of Hillz To The Presidency Bwahahahahahaha -- that Notorious HRC was halfway to prison already for selling state secrets to the ghost of Osama bin Laden, from her private granny yoga AOL account.

As for the incredibly important wink-wink nudge-nudge implication that Clinton makes sweet scissor-love to her longtime aide Huma Abedin, in her bedroom, we'd like to think tossing gasoline on that (lesbian) rumor (lesbian) fire (LESBIAN!) would be beneath the The Times. But by now, we know better, even if the Gray Lady does not.

Don't Be These Other Guys

[contextly_sidebar id="L7XpW7pKi8hWgVspsnUo5BNdi3VGgtrm"]Other "journalism" that sucked this year? Fox News, obviously, every day and all day long and twice on Sunday and five times more on Sunday night. That's not even including pretend "award-winning" "reporter" Bill O'Reilly. Don't be Fox News. Don't even watch Fox News. Hell, you probably shouldn't bother watching TV news at all. It will just make you dumber.

Don't Be Wonkette

[contextly_sidebar id="cUHzUFp3Z56GUSvpRe2BocDu564wlf37"]Wonkette is awesome. We are only dicks to those who deserve it. We try to never be wrong, and when we are, we apologize immediately. And we are most def nothing like You Know Who Times or any teevee bobbleheads. Sure, we make these dick jokes look easy, but let us tell you, it's harder (#dickjokes) than you think. We bring the funny, the righteously indignant, the latest on who's putting a baby inside of Bristol Palin, and also lots of recipes with bacon. Mmmm bacon.

But you cannot be Wonkette and should not even try. That position is already filled, by us, Yr Wonkette.

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