Possible Market Niche: Journalistic Integrity Watch (Interviews)

He had in fact got it from a leader in the Times, which the wizards did not like much because it either did not print what they said or printed what they said with embarrassing accuracy.
«Unseen Academicals» by Terry Pratchett

In current journalism, many journalists are becoming activists. A bit like the RPG bard — not a mere teller of events, but an influencer. And that includes selectively editing interviews to convey a certain picture of people or being outright hostile in interviews.

You saw it very clearly with Jordan Peterson, but also with the selective news editing when it comes to Donald Trump and others. And it’s not only with famous people, at a former institute, when we were recorded, we recorded as well. Just to make sure we aren’t quoted out of context.

And given the risk of being quoted out of context, and the lack of accountability in many cases, I wonder whether a platform might help (if this does not already exist). Some kind of Journalistic Integrity Watch.

The idea is a simple database with journalists, the outlets they work for, the original recording and what was shown/used, and an interviewee and listener rating whether the information is faithfully used or not. Perhaps some comments what was used out of context. And sure, providing the audio might take a lot of effort (and disk space), but you would also work with links. Have only the assessment in the database. However, it would probably be best to have the full recording (or the whole automatically transcribed transcript) and highlight the passages that were used. If the order changes that should be made visible (e.g., via lines) as well.

You could also add additional characteristics about the interviewer — for example, does this person let the other person talk. Perhaps operationalized by the number of interruptions. How was it to work with that person, etc. Perhaps some viewer ratings, from how manipulative the interviewer is (or tries to be). Something from Larry King (not at all) to Cathy Newman (or beyond).

You could also tag the interviewers with the most frequent ethical mistakes, negatives like «quoting out of context», «lying», «fabricating», «selective editing», but also positives like «honest», «impartial», «ties to be objective», etc.

Of course, such a platform would be expensive to run, but perhaps it could be community driven. And many tasks could be automated, e.g., an automatic matching which passages were used from the audio file.

Might be an idea to bring some accounting into journalism. If you ever get an interview request, you could look up the journalist and determine whether an interview makes sense. Of course, it shouldn’t become a pillory for journalists. Mistakes happen, sometimes the editor is at fault, or the outlet, and some people might change. You could see it by rating people over time — for example, whether they get better or worse. You could also calculate some measures, for example which outlet has the most honest journalists. And yeah, to avoid the whole partisan interpretation of data, the honesty score would have to be calculated as objectively as possible.

It’s doable and might be worth the effort.