Trustworthiness is key in journalism, yet some journalists intentionally deceive their audiences by fabricating sources. In 2014, Dutch journalist Perdiep Ramesar was fired from Trouw, an esteemed national newspaper in the Netherlands, after it was discovered that sources in 126 of his articles were ‘non-verifiable’. This poses the question whether untrustworthy news articles may be recognized, for instance by textual characteristics. Using corpus analysis, we searched for systematic differences in source use and presentation comparing Ramesar’s deceptive news articles with two same-sized sets of reliable articles, 1) articles on similar topics from other journalists, and 2) articles with verifiable sources from Ramesar himself. Results indicate that compared to real news sources, fictitious sources are more often secondary definers, who are presented in more stereotypical ways and through more and longer direct quotations.
- Journalism ethics
- Linguistic analysis
- Content analysis
- Fraud detection
Govaert, C., Lagerwerf, L., & Klemm, C. (2019). Tekstuele kenmerken van misleidende journalistiek: De zaak-Ramesar. Tijdschrift voor Taalbeheersing, 41(1), 61-74. https://doi.org/10.5117/TVT2019.1.005.GOVA