Fact accuracy has been under assault for more than 20 years. It began when corporate owners reaped huge profits without reinvesting in newsrooms. The internet redefined audience and reconfigured advertising, reducing newsroom staff by 26% between 2008-20. Then Donald J. Trump emerged with his big/little lies and a cult-like MAGA following whose adherents dubbed journalists as enemies of the people.
Journalism may succumb to AI hallucinations, outright fabrications and illogical deductions, cast as effortlessly and believably as possible.
This is why newsrooms should temper their use of chatbots, hire more copy editors, emphasize fact-checking, establish “truth beats” and create or update guidelines about machine applications.