New York Times public editor Arthur Brisbane has a question for his readers today: "Should the Times Be a Truth Vigilante?" That is: should Times reporters "challenge 'facts' that are asserted by newsmakers they write about"? Our feeling is... no. No, the Times should just make shit up.
Brisbane wonders whether or not Times should give a reporter "the freedom to call out what he thinks is a lie." Uhhh... hello? No? Arthur?? Why would we want reporters to identify "lies" and "facts"? The Times should give reporters freedom to just write whatever the fuck they want.
Let's use Brisbane's example:
Another example: on the campaign trail, Mitt Romney often says President Obama has made speeches "apologizing for America" [...] 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."
Would you rather read Romney's assertion unchallenged? Or with the amending paragraph? Or would you rather read... this:
On the campaign trail, Romney often says that President Obama has made speeches "apologizing for America." But has the president ever apologized for America? A review of the president's statements reveals that yes, once, he apologized for America, in a dirigible high above the Pacific Ocean, while engaged in single combat with Wolverine for control of the East Asian heroin trade.
[NYT, image via AP]