What the Washington Post’s rush to be the first to report on Russian hackers breaching the US power grid teaches us about how “breaking news” can all too often become “fake news” when we over-trust government sources and fail to verify facts.
Kalev's first article of the new year garnered more than 173,000 views in its first week and was covered throughout the world, including tweets (and an article) by Glenn Greenwald and James Grimaldi and articles across the media sphere, with outlets like Snopes and Vermont Public Radio drawing heavily from its extensive chronology of how the Post’s article came about and the rewrites it underwent over the following hours and days, while even Fox News mentioned it briefly on-air. The story even went international, being picked up in outlets from Russia’s RIA to Costa Rica’s El Pais. The story was covered across the spectrum including Real Clear Politics and even Krebs on Security mentioned it. The Post itself even made use of this timeline in its own post-mortem of what went wrong and the article became a teaching moment both in proper journalistic sourcing and in crisis response.