Avoid The Rush to Judgment

03Aug10

Golden West was a risk adverse residential mortgage portfolio lender that operated for more than 40 years making high quality loans with record low losses. 

Yet, at the height of the mortgage crisis, Golden West/World Savings came under attack.  Known for its popular Pick-a-Payment (deferred interest payment option) and Quick Qualifier (no income verification) loans, those who did not understand its underwriting guidelines or how the loans worked questioned World Savings’ integrity.  In October 2008, a popular sketch comedy show aired a satire about Golden West (in the middle of a heated Presidential campaign and right after Wachovia, Golden West’s purchaser, had announced its own sale).  Unfortunately, 60 Minutes did not make the situation any easier for the Sandlers or Golden West when it aired a story based on false allegations by a disgruntled employeeTime and Vanity Fair magazines followed with its own stories blaming Golden West for the financial turmoil.

This is an example of errors made in journalism.  When errors are made, reputations are at stake.  Nonetheless, as in other industries making challenging judgements are a part of the profession, thus mistakes are bound to happen.  In order to uphold high-quality journalism, when errors are made, the responsibility lies with the journalist(s) to make things right.

“In order for a journalist to fulfill their duty of providing the people with the information, they need to be free and self-governing.”  Thus, as bloggers the quality of work should be accurate and avoid presenting others in an incorrect “light.”  Sure, people have the right to opinions yet facts presented should be truthful.  Whether a professional journalist for a nationally known news show or a citizen journalist for a personal blog, rushing to judgment should be avoided by investigating further. 

Your thoughts?

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