In an age where media regularly skips over basic fact-checking in favor of sexy, eyeball-grabbing headlines, reporters who demand accuracy over wild speculation are becoming rarer.
But there are still a few, and Fox News' Shep Smith is apparently one of them.
The Fox breaking news host was not at all pleased Wednesday after a guest suggested with no proof that the technical difficulties suffered this week by United Airlines, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Stock Exchange were all somehow connected.
Greg Keeler of the National Cyber Security Institute said during a discussion on Fox's "The Real World w/ Gretchen Carlson" that, "This has just been a triple threat of attacks today."
"The stock exchange obviously is the major one, United Airlines again, the Wall Street Journal and others. For the stock exchange to go down like it is today, for the administration to come out so fast and so vehemently and say this has not been an attack, I think it's a little bit disingenuous," he said.
"There's been on Twitter claims that North Korea, that they're claiming to be behind this attack, and that's very, very possible, as are other actors," he added.
After Keeler said his bit, Smith unloaded.
"You know," the Fox anchor said, "the level of irresponsibility on behalf of the last speaker is really difficult for me to quantify."
"What we do as journalists is listen to the reporting of the agencies," Smith added. "And everyone who knows anything about this has reported to us — in the same way that they always do — that these things are not connected, that there was a glitch on Wall Street, that United had a problem of its own, and that what we have here is a grouping of separate incidents that happened to come on the same day."
He continued, noting that "conspiracy theorists" were also speculating that subway outages in New York City might also be connected somehow to the technical glitches.
"Put them together in a soup, does not a soup make. We cannot say any of these things are related, that some attack is underway because social media says that North Korea is claiming responsibility. That is not a source," Smith said.
"And right now what we need to not do is spread panic that is not realistic, that doesn't have any place in today's world," he added. "We have a series of things that people can get all weird about on social media if they want to. But unless and until somebody in charge who has looked into things with a grain of sense and a bit of knowledge comes forth and says this is connected. Unless and until that happens, we should probably stop it."
It's not good for anybody, he concluded.