Ed Driscoll

TNR, The NYT And The Myth Of The Fact-Checker

As I’ve written a few dozen times here on this blog and in articles, the first decade of the 21st is witnessing the conclusion of the American mainstream media’s 80-year obsession with providing “objective” journalism. Which is a move that’s long overdue–wherever you stand on the political spectrum, simply compare the uniform bland establishment liberal institutional tone of American newspapers with the much more vibrant and diverse British model. And as Virginia Postrel recently wrote:

Reading [Objectivity by Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison], I began to understand why I’ve never embraced my own profession’s celebration of objectivity. Real objectivity would turn the journalist into a C-Span camera, simply recording data without any sort of selection or pattern-making. With all due respect to C-Span, good journalism in fact requires trained judgment: about what’s important, what’s interesting, what’s worth telling. Good journalism includes story telling and analysis, even in straight news stories and all the more in features or analytical pieces. Mistaking fairness or accuracy for “objectivity” only confuses journalists, their audiences, and their critics.

Concurrent with the demise of the legacy media’s feint towards omniscient God’s eye all-knowing objective journalism is–not at all coincidentally–the American public finally understanding that, as Roger Simon notes at Pajamas HQ, the notion of an all-knowing fact checker at newspapers and television networks is very much a myth.

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