Posted by: amygdala | March 21, 2010

on journalism

“The very notion that on any given story all you have to do is
report what both sides say and you’ve done a fine job of
objective journalism debilitates the press. There is no such
thing as objectivity, and the truth, that slippery little bugger,
has the oddest habit of being way to hell off on one side or the
other: it seldom nestles neatly halfway between any two opposing
points of view. The smug complacency of much of the press–I
have heard many an editor say, ‘Well, we’re being attacked by
both sides so we must be right’–stems from the curious notion
that if you get a quote from both sides, preferably in an
official position, you’ve done the job. In the first place, most
stories aren’t two-sided, they’re 17-sided at least. In the
second place, it’s of no help to either the readers or the truth
to quote one side saying, ‘Cat,’ and the other side saying ‘Dog,’
while the truth is there’s an elephant crashing around out there
in the bushes.”

– Molly Ivins, columnist.

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