Lie-plagued yuppie lifestyle app The New York Times has a big problem. On the one hand, it wants to have lots of link-bait articles full of lies — anything a politician says, “yoga will kill you,” etc. On the other hand, it has a few nervous-nelly editors wondering whether there is some “market share potential” in occasionally publishing the truth about events, people and situations. This is the newspaper that has blindly supported every imperial war since 9/11, and has blindly nodded its consent to global supervillains such as Dick Cheney and Alan Greenspan. And now it’s suddenly having a conversation with itself about whether it should note which things are obviously true or untrue. Whatever, Noam Chomsky!
This, from the milquetoast schoolmarm currently employed as the “public editor” of the NYT:
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.
One example mentioned recently by a reader: As cited in an Adam Liptak article on the Supreme Court, a court spokeswoman said Clarence Thomas had “misunderstood” a financial disclosure form when he failed to report his wife’s earnings from the Heritage Foundation. The reader thought it not likely that Mr. Thomas “misunderstood,” and instead that he simply chose not to report the information.
Another example: on the campaign trail, Mitt Romney often says President Obama has made speeches “apologizing for America,” a phrase to which Paul Krugman objected in a December 23 column arguing that politics has advanced to the “post-truth” stage.
Wow, where to begin? Maybe just don’t, and instead link to Choire Sicha’s post at The Awl, where he notes that 99% of the commenters at the NYT are bizarrely in favor of the Paper of Record reporting actual facts. [The Awl/NYT/Metafilter]