I’ll just point out that I’m a NY Times subscriber, but after reading this by the Times‘ ombudsman, I’m thinking that I might drop my subscription:
I’m looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge “facts” that are asserted by newsmakers they write about.
… on the campaign trail, Mitt Romney often says President Obama has made speeches “apologizing for America,” a phrase to which Paul Krugman objected in a December 23 column arguing that politics has advanced to the “post-truth” stage.
As an Op-Ed columnist, Mr. Krugman clearly has the freedom to call out what he thinks is a lie. My question for readers is: should news reporters do the same?
If so, then perhaps the next time Mr. Romney says the president has a habit of apologizing for his country, the reporter should insert a paragraph saying, more or less:
“The president has never used the word ‘apologize’ in a speech about U.S. policy or history. Any assertion that he has apologized for U.S. actions rests on a misleading interpretation of the president’s words.”
Look, I, along with other readers, need to be alerted when someone says something that just isn’t true. That’s useful to me. And the ‘inaccuracy’–usually willful lying–might just be…news in and of itself.
Reading the comments, it seems some reporters are terrified that they might actually have to understand what they’re covering well enough to judge factual claims. Being able to do so would raise many political reporters up to the level of bloggers. They might also have to make judgment calls, like the rest of us humans. And we readers are not as stupid as you think: it’s a lot easier to filter a political bias than the wankerific stenographic crap that too often passes as political reporting.
So does anybody know if the Science section of the Times has adopted this strategy? Because reverting to the days of ‘he said/she said’ reporting about, let’s say, evolution would be a really stupid thing.