Trump is getting the headlines he wants even without the facts to back them up, and it needs to stopPosted: 2016-12-30
A growing list of companies — including Dow Chemical, Carrier and IBM — have sought to give Trump the credit he seeks for job or investment announcements, hoping their concessions can win them seats at the table as Trump begins crafting policies in health care, education, financial services and technology. Sprint, which is owned by SoftBank, joined the list this week, pledging to bring back 5,000 jobs months after cutting thousands of employees. And OneWeb, which plans to provide satellite-based internet service and is backed by SoftBank, similarly pledged to create jobs. SoftBank’s support for the company predates Trump.
Some of the business pledges are recycled news, and others amount to little more than public-relations messaging that will be hard to track to see whether promises are realized — but analysts see it as an emerging way for investors and executives to stay on Trump’s good side. […]
Maybe fearing a fall from grace, companies have so far done little to correct Trump even when he’s misrepresented their work, overstated their plans or taken credit for hiring and investment talks initiated before his election.
Greg Sargent has proposed a rule for headline-writing that shouldn’t be so difficult to put into practice:
If the headline does not convey the fact that Trump’s claim is in question or open to doubt, based on the known facts, then it is insufficiently informative.
You’d think this would be obvious. But many media outlets are either hamstrung by their longstanding belief that “balance” means reporting what politicians say without calling their lies into serious question or are operating under the same incentives as companies that allow Trump to take credit for jobs announcements that have nothing to do with him—giving Trump the headlines he wants may be a way to avoid being his next target.
We need the media to do better, especially if corporations are going to pander to Trump.