The public editor at the New York Times, Arthur Brisbane, published a strange article today on whether the NYT’s reporters should be concerned with discovering the truth.
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.
Unfortunately, Mr. Brisbane’s idea of working to discover the facts merely consists of inserting more bias into the NYT’s regular articles:
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.”
Mr. Brisbane asks his readers, “how can The Times do this in a way that is objective and fair? Is it possible to be objective and fair when the reporter is choosing to correct one fact over another?” The obvious answer is no. Hopefully, the NYT will leave its opinions on its editorial page, because, like Joe Friday, “all we want are the facts.”