Fact-Check Info, Avoid Yellow Journalism -Amb. McCarthy Warns Against Inflammatory Reportage

MONROVIA – Coming hot on the heels of recent allegations on social media talk shows fingering some officials of the Weah government for allegedly orchestrating the murder of former Chief Justice Gloria Scott’s daughter, the outspoken United States Ambassador to Liberia Michael McCarthy is cautioning journalists to exercise professional journalism, and to not inflame passions by putting out information that are not fact-checked.

Making the assertion on Tuesday, March 14, 2023 during a press roundtable with visiting U.S. Global Anti-Corruption officials, Ambassador McCarthy said he is utterly ashamed to inform Liberians that the “most irresponsible controversies” emerging in Liberia’s media over the past month originated from the United States.

“First, in both our U.S.-funded media training and our messaging to the press, we spend a lot of time emphasizing responsible journalism; that with freedom of expression comes an obligation to verify facts, and to not inflame passions without first doing due diligence.

“Today, I am ashamed to tell you that the most irresponsible controversies to emerge in Liberia’s media over the past month originated from the United States. While responsible critical observations from the Liberian diaspora can be healthy, some cowardly media personalities and political personalities have intentionally disseminated rumors or misinformation into Liberia’s political environment from the safety of their studies and offices in the U.S.

The assertion of the U.S. Ambassador to Liberia followed recent allegations from former Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner Jerome Verdier, directly accusing Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee of masterminding the murder of Chelroe Musu, daughter of former Justice Gloria Musu-Scott at her Lower Virginia residence.

“These people are motivated by disruption and a desire to break down trust in Liberian institutions – they don’t care what damage they cause, and when questioned by law enforcement, they do not have evidence to back up their claims. Unfortunately, they take advantage of America’s first amendment rights to spread rumors and stir up trouble in your country, which is despicable behavior,” Ambassador McCarthy stated.

Meanwhile, the tidbit dissemination of Ambassador McCarthy’s speech mainly by pro-government supporters, which dwelt on other germane issues affecting the Liberian society, has created some level of distrust among the populace about the authenticity of the information.

However, in order to fulfill its journalistic due diligence, The Analyst, having contacted the U.S. Embassy near Monrovia late yesterday, established that Ambassador McCarthy indeed made the remarks in his customary no-holds-barred fashion.

It can be recalled that Ambassador McCarthy at this same time last year wondered what Liberia’s first president Joseph Jenkins Roberts would have said about the country that he helped to found when he left the shores of the United States in his early 20s to flee racial discrimination.

Ambassador McCarthy spoke at the time on the rampaging level of corruption permeating the Liberian society.

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