The line between News and Opinion

When you go looking for reliable information, what we call Actionable Information, the taxonomy helps you find the good stuff: with VIA.

This is Rick Santelli, a repoter for CNBC, a business news network, from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade. His job is to report on interest rates, foreign exchange, and the Federal Reserve. As an investor, you want accurate reporting to help you decide whether to buy or sell.  As a citizen, you want a clear picture of how government policies are affecting the economy. That’s his job.

If we quickly put this report through our VIAbility prism, we find that it meets the criteria: He's verified his information by reporting straight from the floor of the exchange. He is a journalist working for CNBC providing an independent report on market actions. Lastly, he signs on and off with his name, making him accountable for the information given.


Here's Santelli again. 

This was broadcast on Feb. 19, 2009 as the stimulus bill was going into effect and the U.S. government was in the process of bailing out banks, some homeowners and Chrysler and GM.

He listens to an expert invited onto the show to comment and give an expert opinion…then suddenly Santelli is giving his opinion instead of keeping it to himself. He’ll go down in history for this rant, which is often cited as the founding declaration of the Tea Party movement. But this was a huge violation of his role as a journalist. He was no longer reporting facts about trading from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, he was using the access journalists are granted in order to argue one side of a public policy debate. News Consumers were shown the standard CNBC graphics,  but with no “Commentator” label or intro or sign off.

What happened to VIA? It doesn’t matter whether we agree or disagree. The point is he is having it both ways, blurring the lines that help News Consumers keep track of whether they are getting facts or opinions.

Do you think that this was reliable information?

Is it useful? If yes…why is an opinion useful?