Accuracy in Media

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of President Donald Trump, which did not go well with BuzzFeed. BuzzFeed’s headline implied that the president was hiding something from Congress and the public, which is unable to be proven or verified at this point.

The court said that it placed a stay on the lawsuit, which pitted the president against Congress’s House Oversight Committee. The committee is seeking to unveil the president’s personal financial records, such as his tax forms, as a part of their investigation into his finances and whether he lied on his tax forms.

BuzzFeed’s headline said, “The Supreme Court Said Trump’s Financial Records Can Stay Hidden For Now,” which insinuated that the court agreed with Trump that he could hide his financial records. Also, the word choice “hidden” may portray Trump in a negative light and indirectly accuse him of having something to hide, as if it were nefarious. Buzzfeed’s word choice is less than stellar and appeared to be biased because it insinuated criminal reasons behind Trump’s decision to not release his financial information.

Typically, neutral and impartial journalists would go for more neutral-sounding headlines, such as the New York Times’s headline, “Supreme Court temporarily blocks disclose of Trump’s financial records,” or the Washington Post’s “Supreme Court blocks House committee from immediately reviewing Trump’s financial records.

BuzzFeed should have also acknowledged that Trump’s business dealings are important to him (which business dealings he made a central part of his 2016 campaign) and by releasing his financial records, it could potentially jeopardize his reputation and standing in the business community.

Ultimately, BuzzFeed portrayed the Supreme Court as partisan in siding with Trump, and insinuated that the president is hiding a secret from Congress and the public, although the case is still yet to be decided. This article was a poor example of ethical journalism.

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