Washington Post Targets Verizon With Unverified Comments From Anonymous Internet Crank

“Democracy Dies in Darkness,” the slogan of The Washington Post, has another iteration on Reddit, a social news aggregation and discussion platform. Last year, the Post established a Reddit profile—modifying its tagline to “Democracy Dies in Dankness”—to build connections with that audience and increase traffic to its website.

Dankness—defined as “disagreeably damp” or slang for high-grade marijuana—is perhaps a more apt term for a recent Post story based on an anonymous Redditor’s criticism of a Fortune 500 telecommunications company. As the trustworthiness of news outlets is under constant assault by President Trump, partisans of all stripes, and the American public, the Post’s article adds credence to charges of sensationalist “fake news.”

The episode involves a story on based on an alarming complaint that an anonymous person posted on Reddit about Verizon. The story, “Verizon denies allegations that it’s degrading mobile data service for Hurricane Florence victims,” was written by business and technology policy reporter Brian Fung. It provides a curious case study of how one comment from an anonymous agitator can generate a negative headline in one of the most authoritative newspapers in America.

Fung’s article relied on a single Reddit post from an anonymous source alleging that Verizon deprioritized his mobile data in the wake of Hurricane Florence.

Read the full piece at thefederalist.com:

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