Golden Rule #6: Avoid allegations or assumptions

Key Takeaways

1.  It can be tempting to write an article about a lawsuit, an accusation, or an assumption about companies, but this does not solely qualify as impact.

2.  You must stick to proven facts only to illustrate a broader issue and stay away from company bashing or glorifying.

3.  For lawsuits, take on the topic only if a clear ruling has been established.

The sixth golden rule is to stick to facts and avoid using allegations or assumptions to build your analysis.

What’s the problem?

  • Allegations and/or assumptions are not facts and can lead to writing defamatory content.

  • If a company has been accused of wrongdoing, it does not demonstrate evidence of guilt.

  • If a company is praised for its actions, it does not mean they had a positive impact.

  • Often, writers use lawsuits to demonstrate negative impacts, but until a sentence has been given, a lawsuit does not establish anything.

What you must do

  • Stick to proven facts only and steer clear of repeating reputations, meaning that they are supported by solid evidence.

  • For lawsuits, a clear ruling must have been made that establishes the company's wrongdoings.

  • Document assertions with reliable sources.

  • Refrain from company bashing or glorifying.



  • Morgan Stanley has been accused of money laundering.

  • ExxonMobil is well-known for being a responsible oil-producing company.

Proven facts

  • Morgan Stanley's poor anti-money-laundering controls lead to a $10 million fine from FINRA. View the analysis here

  • With 4M barrels/day production, ExxonMobil is the biggest oil-producing company in the US. View the analysis here.

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