As often now as in the past, newspaper journalists use direct or indirect quotation to report unsupported or false cl...

Alexandra on January 11 at 12:08PM

Please Explain

I struggled with this question because of the way it's phrased. Why would journalist question the veracity of a quote that they intentionally wrote out of context? I ended up choosing D because it seemed the least like the other options, but I don't understand why it is correct for this answer.

1 Reply

Ravi on January 11 at 10:58PM

@alige,

Happy to help. You're right—the wording on this question is a bit
tricky and quite confusing. Let's take a look at how we can solve
this.

It sounds like you misinterpreted what's going on in the stimulus,
which is why the question didn't make sense to you. The journalist is
not intentionally writing the quote out of context; rather, the
journalist is failing to openly challenge the unsupported/false claims
that they are indirectly or directly quoting from newsmakers.

Let's take a real-world example and apply it to this problem. Let's
say some politicians are going around saying that the United States
doesn't border Mexico. A journalist quotes this in her article.
However, now she is much less likely to question the truth of that
statement in her article, whereas 5 years ago, she would've called
B.S. on the statement. Does this make sense? We're looking to find the
one answer does not help resolve this paradox. Why isn't she speaking
out?

Answer A would help explain the paradox because if there are some
readers who will cancel a subscription simply because a view they take
for granted has been disputed by the publication and also believe
(like the politician does) that the U.S. doesn't border Mexico, then
it makes sense how journalists would be less willing to call out false
statements. The journalists wouldn't want to alienate readers. This
makes sense. It's incorrect because it helps resolve the paradox.

Answer B would also help explain the paradox. If the journalists lack
knowledge about the false claims, then it would make sense that
they're likely to call them out since they don't know that the claims
are unsupported or outrageous.

Answer C helps to explain the paradox because it persons supporting
controversial views more and more frequently choose to speak only to
reporters who seem sympathetic to their views, then it would make
sense that journalists are becoming less likely to openly challenge
the veracity of such claims. This answer is incorrect because it helps
explain the paradox.

Answer D would not help to explain the paradox. If it's true that a
basic principle of journalism holds that debate over controversial
issues draws the attention of the public, then it does not make sense
that the journalists are not openly challenging the claims. The
paradox remains, so this is our correct answer.

Answer E explains the paradox because if journalists who challenge the
veracity of claims are often criticized for failing their professional
obligation to be objective, then it makes sense that they would be
less likely to openly challenge unsupported or false claims. Because
it explains the paradox, it's an incorrect answer.

Does this make sense? Let us know if you have any more questions!