First, some facts. Advertising supports most newspapers. Advertising in daily papers is slipping dangerously. Now, some thoughts. Dailies have been dying for decades, and the situation is similar for weeklies and "local" radio stations.
A tenet of ethical reporting is to verify information not personally known to the reporter. That's true even if -- especially if -- a public official, a public figure or a syndicated columnist makes a claim of public concern.