Should We Seriously Have To Have This Conversation With A Newspaper?

Should The Times Be a Truth Vigilante?

That, swear to Christ, is a real headline on a real article posted on a real blog on the real website of the real New York Times. Yeah, for real. No, I can’t believe it either.

But though I can’t believe it, should I really be surprised? I’m thinking really hard and coming up really empty trying to remember the last time it felt like the news was actually about the news and not about the agenda of this side vs. the agenda of that one, especially in America. I’m sorry United States, but much of your news is terrible. You either spend most of the cycle talking about things that mean nothing, or you’re letting people say things completely unchallenged even when those things are obvious untruths. when you’re not doing that, this or that blowhard is spinning issues to suit his purposes with about as much regard for the facts as drunk drivers have for traffic rules. He’s doing it, it should be pointed out, under the guise of providing the hard facts or the real story. The news long ago lost its way, so no, I shouldn’t be surprised that there’s a dude at the New York Times who can’t decide whether or not the paper should try to present real stories.

I shouldn’t be surprised, but I should be offended. So should you. If you’re not tuning into the news or buying a paper looking for truth, it’s not news you want. and if you are and the news org has to wrestle with itself trying to figure out what it should be giving you while it’s giving you something now, you’re not getting what was advertised or what you’re paying for. If the hard news media’s job isn’t to be objective seekers and tellers of truthful stories, what is its job?

There’s a reason why editorials and news are in two different parts of the paper. If I want somebody’s opinion on the news I just read, I flip to editorials. If I want to know if the opinion I just read came from a moron on another planet or from a place I can trust, I look for the news story so I can read up on, wait for it, the facts. Is this really that complicated?

The job of the news is simple. Tell me what happened. Feel free to quote people, that’s fine. It helps add context. But when you quote people, be as balanced as you can. If somebody disagrees and that disagreement might be important, I want to know about it. And if both those people are wrong, do your research and tell me what’s right. If you don’t know, tell me you don’t know. Just tell me, in a manner as close to accurate as possible, what you know from poking around and from talking to other people who might know.

There’s an old saying that goes there are three sides to every story. Yours, mine and the truth’s. No matter what, the truth’s side is always right. The truth can be manipulated to suit just about anyone’s purposes, but in its purest form, there is nothing in the world more objective. That, my mainstream media friends, is what you should be striving for at all times. It’s your job. Please start doing it.

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