Established media organizations are not safe from #fakenews: Sky News and Ken Livingstone’s newt pet “Adolf” :)

Established media organizations typically have verification processes in place, to make sure no unverified or false information makes it into their published content. However, live TV allows commentators and on-air journalist to say almost anything, without being “fact checked” first by their editorial teams. And everything they say or publish has an impact on their brand’s trustworthiness.

Veteran Sky News correspondent Jon Craig fell victim to a satire website claiming that former London mayor, Ken Livingstone, has a pet newt named “Adolf”. The information was published by the know satire website The Daily Mash, which wasn’t really to obvious to Jon Craig, Sky News chief political correspondent. Jon Craig picked up the satirical information and used it on air as if it were true:

“He [Ken Livingstone] is 72 years old, he spends most of his time walking his dog Coco and famously looking after his pet newts. And guess what one of them is called? Yep, Adolf.”

He later discovered his mistake and called it “a shame” on Twitter:

 

Readers were quick to criticize Jon Craig and Sky News for the rookie mistake, asking why this information wasn’t “Googled” beforehand and questioning the media organization’s credibility:

 

The verification of online articles, even if they are satire, is one click away with the TrustServista Extension. The Daily Mash article is easy to recognize as this publication is flagged as being a satire website by TrustServista. 

And even without a predefined list of satire websites, the Content Quality Analysis of the article, that includes writing style, contextual information and information sources, would still point out that this information has a low (30%) trustworthiness score:

 

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