Not if it’s done right. Selecting only a phrase or even a single word from what a source said to use in a verbatim quote doesn’t mean the reporter is fundamentally misrepresenting what the source said.
The short answer is no, but it’s more complicated than that.
It works like any other kind of journalism, adhering to rules of verification, independence and accountability. And sometimes the scoops are world-changing.
This is a question of transparency and journalism ethics. And yes, some journalists and news organizations have been criticized and held responsible in court for just this situation.
Transparency is the “story behind the story,” and the more a news consumer knows about how a story is put together, the easier it is to evaluate—and trust—that information.
The use—and abuse—of anonymous sources is an ongoing and thorny debate in journalism.
Reporters always prefer to use named sources who are willing to go “on the record,” meaning that the information they provide can be attributed directly to them. But sometimes that’s just not possible.
Citizen journalists are increasingly important members of the news media ecosystem. They often provide the first photos and video after a disaster and firsthand reports from war zones too dangerous for journalists.
The first step is to realize that an algorithm is determining what news you see (and what you don’t). That is true on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google News, Apple News, Google search and many other news websites.
Raw information can be very valuable. Often when news breaks, tweets and other social media posts with photos, video, and eyewitness observations are the first indications of what has happened. However, raw news is UNVERIFIED.
News can be entertaining, and entertainment can be newsy, which makes it increasingly difficult for news consumers to tell the difference. Shows like “The View” often blur the line between journalism and entertainment.