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Oh Really. Is That How It Works?

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According to the Washington Post, it was the North Shore Leader, not the New York Times that first raised questions about the veracity of the biography of New York Congressman-elect George Santos.

In September, the small Long Island paper raised questions about Santos’s finances and living arrangements. He lived in a humble apartment for someone who claimed to be worth millions.

But another part of the Post story caught our attention. In paragraph six, reporter Sarah Ellison summarizes the news eco-system and how it is supposed to work:

“It was the stuff national headlines are supposed to be built on: A hyperlocal outlet like the Leader does the leg work, regional papers verify and amplify the story, and before long an emerging political scandal is being broadcast coast-to-coast.

But that system, which has atrophied for decades amid the destruction of news economies, appears to have failed completely this time.”

This is a description of how a local story becomes a national story, but is it really the way the entire news gathering model is supposed to work? Are all reporters essentially working for the New York Times? Either as local diggers or regional fact checkers? There are many who will be surprised to hear this.