July 30, 2007

MEGAN MCARDLE: “But though I disapprove of the way that both sides have turned this into a battle in some larger culture war over whether soldiers/Republicans or journalists/Democrats are the bigger jerks, it still matters a great deal whether the story was right. Just as it mattered whether Jayson Blair’s stories were right, or Stephen Glass’s, not because their stories would resolve momentous questions of public policy, but because it matters a great deal whether the information that media conveys is correct. Editors should live in fear that something they have published is wrong; that’s healthy. Whatever the motives of the critics–and I hate to point this out, but almost certainly anyone who gets caught writing a fake story, will be caught by someone who doesn’t like them very much, and has ulterior motives for desiring to disprove what they wrote–the mechanism is sound. It is the journalistic equivalent of peer review.”