Investigative journalism is threatened in the twenty-first century by assaults on the very idea of truth. “Speak truth to power” became a complacent slogan for reporters who did not predict the current contempt for truth-telling from the viscerally energising Donald Trump on the right and Julian Assange of Wikileaks on the anarchist left. We journalists spent 40 years exposing the wrongdoing of politicians, corporations, and our own bosses, in an innocent belief in the value of a War on Lies. Can such roles remain viable, given the economic weakness of the “mainstream media” and their vulnerability to bold ideological attacks? We need to clean up the polluted water supply of information in democracies, by giving investigative journalists tools that will enable them to survive.
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