A medium that allows faster transmission of information also allows fast transmission of incorrect information. Misinformation is not unique to the Internet, but some examples show the unique ways that this misinformation can be spread: The Internet and cable news channels also can play a role in bringing misinformation into the realm of traditional news media. This possibility was demonstrated in the case of Juanita Broaddrick, a woman who claimed (then denied, then claimed again) that Bill Clinton forced her to have sex with him in 1978. News organizations knew about her story in 1992, but she wouldn't talk on the record until she consented to an interview with NBC just days before Clinton faced an impeachment vote in the Senate. NBC did what it could to verify information, which took time. Meanwhile, CNBC talk-show host Chris Matthews broached the subject on his show. Shortly thereafter, NBC's hesitancy to run the story became a story in itself, reported by the Drudge Report, Fox News Channel, and the Washington Times. 3

Tom Rosenstiel and Bill Kovach, who described this process in a Washington Post opinion article, have called the process of creating a news story from an unverified report "the journalism of assertion." "First comes the allegation," Rosenstiel and Kovach wrote. "Then the anchor vamps and speculates until the counter-allegation is issued." 4 The authors note that the news organizations reported on NBC's hesitancy to run the story without reporting on the "substance of the allegation." 5 The fact that a news organization is investigating a story has, in essence, become a story of its own, and it is a story that mixes fact and allegation until both are unrecognizable.