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NYT Wonders If It's Objective and Fair to Call Out Lies

**Update below**

I read this and it made my brain bleed.

I'm looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge "facts" that are asserted by newsmakers they write about.
[S]ome readers who, fed up with the distortions and evasions that are common in public life, look to The Times to set the record straight. They worry less about reporters imposing their judgment on what is false and what is true.

Is that the prevailing view? And if so, how can The Times do this in a way that is objective and fair? Is it possible to be objective and fair when the reporter is choosing to correct one fact over another?

Who is Arthur Brisbane and why is he a moron? More importantly, why is a moron given a forum in which he can share his idiocy with the world? Why is he allowed to write for a paper when he doesn't even know what words mean?

This is what Dictionary.com says about the definition of "fact."

fact  [fakt]


  1. something that actually exists; reality; truth: Your fears have no basis in fact.

  2. something known to exist or to have happened: Space travel is now a fact.

  3. a truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true: Scientists gather facts about plant growth.

  4. something said to be true or supposed to have happened: The facts given by the witness are highly questionable.

    A fact is something that's true, something based on reality. You can't be subjective about a fact. Something either is a fact or it's not. Have we really sunk so low that we can no longer distinguish between what is real and what is made up? That a NYT editor has to write a letter to the readers to ask if it's right to point out when something is untrue? What is wrong with his brain? I know what's wrong with my brain. Arthur Brisbane made it bleed.

    We're not talking about calling out things that might be an opinion the journalist disagrees with. That would be wrong and certainly subjective and should be reserved for op-eds. We're talking about pointing out someone claiming they never voted for Bill XYZ when they did or saying Obama is to blame for some tax or bill when it was voted on prior to his taking office.

    What the bloody hell, people? Where's my electric mace? I need to go talk to some people about the facts.

    UPDATE: Brisbane posted an update to his original post and it includes a response from a NYT executive editor, Jill Abramson. Brisbane tries to clarify his original question, affecting the pained expressions of someone who's been terribly misunderstood.

    Both Abramson and Brisbane claim that ofc the NYT fact checks, der.

    But, i think this commenter gives a perfect example of how the NYT doesn't challege distortions of truth:

    The Times regularly quotes politicians saying that "Social Security is going broke," or words to that effect. Never, never to my knowledge, has the Times pointed out that Social Security cannot go broke because its outlays are funded by current contributions. Never have I read a Times reporter point out that it is the Social Security Trust Fund that is underfunded. Never, to my knowledge, has a Times reporter actually, you know, reported,that the shortfall is relatively small and that the Social Security Administration projects that the Trust Fund is solvent into the 2030's. Never has a Times reporter interviewed a left of center analyst who would point out that lifting the cap on annual FICA contributions would easily cure the shortfall.

    Above all, the Times regularly lets politicians say that the money in the Trust Fund was borrowed and spent as part of the regular budget. Of course it was -- by design. The Trust Fund has been saved in the most secure investment in the world: in special issue US Treasury bonds. That is, it was lent to the US Government. The idea that the US Treasury is not going to pay what it owes the Social Security Administration is ludicrous. But Times reporters continue to report the "going broke" line without any correction at all.

    So check my facts, if you like, and then explain why you continue to give "Social Security is going broke," a pass.

    i think i'll stick with my original decision to bring my electric mace along to "fix" things. (it totally works for Hawkgirl in the Justice League cartoon. she's my hero.)

    By min | January 12, 2012, 2:19 PM | Liberal Outrage