Editors must prioritize fact-checking

Fact checking is an incredibly important aspect of accurate reporting. In a country where “fake news” and “alternative facts” have become regular terms, it is essential that news outlets present factual evidence and data in their stories to maintain credibility. For multiple media outlets, however, that has recently not been the case as gaffes in fact checking have blemished the credibility of multiple news outlets.

On Oct. 8, 2017, Fox News ran a story about John Garofalo, a man who claimed to be a Navy SEAL veteran who served in the Vietnam War and received 22 commendations for his service. Garofalo planned to give President Donald Trump a handmade, glass presidential seal. However, the claim that Garafolo was a Navy SEAL was proven as false by retired SEALS who discovered that he actually never served.

Garofalo was not actually the hero the network made him out to be. The whole mess could have been avoided if the network had checked their facts. Fox News finally redacted the story last week. It is extremely important for news outlets to make sure that what they are reporting is true, with its included facts confirmed by multiple sources. If the truth is not clarified, the poor reporting can have an incredibly negative effect on the news outlet’s reputation and leave them scrambling to fix their mistakes.