Jan 13, 2012

NYT debate: what would it cost to end he-said-she-said journalism?

The New York Times has raised the issue of he-said-she-said journalism. It should be discussed here, too, but it's more complicated than media critics think.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

The New York Times’ public editor caused an online storm overnight when he asked readers whether the paper should become a “truth vigilante”. Putting aside the loaded headline, Arthur Brisbane raised whether Times reporters should challenge facts asserted by people they are covering. He gave two examples — the first about Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas claiming to have “misunderstood” his financial disclosure obligations, the second about Mitt Romney’s contention that Barack Obama has “apologised for America”, which he has never done.

Brisbane’s point was that op-ed columnists have the freedom to challenge such assertions, and that the Times has been running a sidebar to presidential nomination stories that fact-checks claims by candidates, but such analysis was not currently part of the straight reportage of the Times, and he wanted to know whether it should be.

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24 thoughts on “NYT debate: what would it cost to end he-said-she-said journalism?

  1. Filth Dimension

    [“I found myself blacklisted by a Coalition press adviser, with whom I’d hitherto had perfectly good relations, because I refused to run his shadow minister’s claim that Julia Gillard had made a particular statement without evidence. When he produced the “evidence”, it was nothing of the sort and I told him as much. This prompted him to declare that I was only a “Canberra blogger” anyway and that he wouldn’t deal with me any more. Touché.”]

    This would be better “news” if Bernard provided some “evidence” that this actually happened.

  2. Edward James

    I have published my allegations and put evidence in front of many readers. The challenge is for people who present themselves in public as fair dinkum about working for honest open government to at least begin asking questions in public forums. About why so many of our elected representatives are perceived to be comfortable with the systemic corruption and abuse of power which surrounds their political activities? We see failed premier Nathan Rees popping up on TV with plenty to say now. But we have not forgotten his performance as Nathan (scurried like a rat) Rees for the way he bolted back to Premier Iemma, when Swansea citizens raised questions about he as Chief of staff knew about Milton (the horrible) Orkopulous. Nathan is another politician along with John Robertson John Hatzistergos and others who get a spray in one of my ads in the Peninsula News.
    I do not understand why when my local council has been accused by me in print of misleading the State Coroner during his investigation into the deaths of five people at Piles Creek. No one seems to care! Edward James

  3. Son of foro

    This whole dismal state of affairs can be summed up in two words: Patrick Lion.

  4. klewso

    Too much of the media (with it’s influence) has prioritised “advertorials/entertainment” over “news”, and the remnants chase the lead they set.

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