For those who seek the truth by way of credible facts and corroboration, these are trying and troubling times, as things have changed dramatically. Gone are the days when people demanded verification, solid proof, and objectivity before rendering judgment. Today, many people blindly and willingly accept information from the media that is uncorroborated, unverified, unreliable, factually deficient, or the result of slanted reporting simply because it aligns with what they want to hear (or what they believe). Corroboration and factual verification appear to have taken a back seat. All that is needed today is a good story that can negatively impact the president. This practice has resulted in many erroneous stories that have hurt and vilified many people. It has also created a dangerous precedent that places the story ahead of the presumption of innocence (due process) and treats people as simple "write-offs," or pawns, in furtherance of a specific political agenda.
Unfortunately, there are too many recent examples where the "story" was more important than the actual facts and the rights of the human beings who were allegedly at fault. For example, Jussie Smollett recently claimed that he was beaten up and that he was the subject of a hate crime. Hollywood Democrats (Cher, Rob Reiner, Katy Perry) and media outlets used this uncorroborated and unverified story to blame the president. According to an article in the Boston Herald, one editor at The Washington Post wrote that the attack is "yet another reminder that Trump's ascendance and the resulting climate of hate has meant that lives have been increasingly at stake since 2015."
Recent evidence has led many to question Smollett's rendition of events and has revealed that he might have paid two acquaintances to stage the attack. However, the media and some on the left had no problem placing blame on the president and the GOP despite the absence of any corroborating and verifiable evidence. Any damage resulting from this story was simply collateral so long as it could impact the president, which was the ultimate goal.
Prior to this incident, several media outlets played a video involving a MAGA hat–wearing student, named Nick Sandmann, and several other students from Covington Catholic High School and Nathan Phillips. Initially, videos of the incident played by some media outlets portrayed Sandmann and the other Covington students as the aggressors against Phillips. After Sandmann was berated, ridiculed, villainized, and criticized on national television, the facts ultimately revealed the real villains and exonerated Sandmann and the rest of the students.
However, the damage to Sandmann was already done. The risk of a mistake didn't seem to matter, because the uncorroborated and unverified story of a Trump-supporter berating another human being was simply worth more than the negative and devastating impact the story would have on Sandmann's life, even if it wasn't true. Once again, it was all about the story.
Finally, the confirmation process involving Judge (now Justice) Kavanaugh is another perfect example of how a good story was more important than a factually based and corroborated one. Kavanaugh was accused by several women, including Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, of sexual assault. There was never any evidence to substantiate the uncorroborated allegations. As a matter of fact, some of the women have since admitted to fabricating the alleged incidents involving Kavanaugh.
Despite this, the media and congressional Democrats took it upon themselves to all but convict Kavanaugh without a scintilla of proof and without even affording him his due process rights. The judge and his family were humiliated, threatened, and shamed on the national and world stages. Given that Kavanaugh was a Trump appointee, the facts didn't matter. All that mattered was the story and the opportunity to hurt Trump, no matter the cost. In this case, the various stories involving Kavanaugh hurt many people, including Kavanaugh and his family, Dr. Ford, members of Congress, and the many victims of sexual assault.
As these real-world examples clearly reflect, the various media outlets have a responsibility to corroborate and to verify the information they utilize in their stories. Their reports have real-world implications that dramatically impact many people. As a result, the media must ensure that the reliability and truthfulness of their information come before their deep-rooted desire to negatively impact the president.
People are not pawns, and they should not be used to further the left-wing media outlets' political agendas. This is especially the case when the risks are so high. If some left-wing media outlets want to publish "good" stories that may hurt the president, they should make sure to vet their sources and corroborate the information first. If they don't, they are hurting themselves and, more importantly, many other innocent people.
Mr. Hakim is a writer and a practicing attorney. His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, The Western Journal, American Thinker, and other online publications.