With the 2016 presidential election now in the past, it’s time for the media to adjust, says Arianna Huffington, founder and former editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post. However, she sees some old media companies just as culpable as their new media counterparts when it comes to spreading fake news.
“The role of the media is not to be a cheerleader,” she told Yahoo Finance’s Alexis Christoforous in a new interview. “The role of the media is to point out what is happening, to give all the facts to the readers and the viewers.”
“Donald Trump is going to be president and it is in the interest of everybody that he’s a better president than we thought he would be when he was campaigning,” Huffington added.
At a time when new media outlets are being accused of toeing—if not outright crossing—the line between factual reporting and fake news, Huffington has some choice words to say about one old media icon.
“In the lead-up to the war in Iraq, the fake news was on the front page of The New York Times (NYT) by Judith Miller, when we had this story after story that gave completely false information about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq,” said Huffington, referring to the New York Times reporter who later said her reporting contained mistakes based on information from the late Iraqi politician, Ahmad Chalabi. (For their part, editors at The Times acknowledged back in 2004 that the paper’s Iraq reporting was “not as rigorous as it should have been.”)
“Fake news was not invented by social media,” Huffington continued. “It has a pretty prestigious pedigree. And that’s why we all need to be so incredibly careful in terms of what we cover and in terms of realizing that the truth is not only in the middle. You know, sometimes it’s on one side or another. And often journalists, in the interest of objectivity, they don’t actually tell the full story.”