Wednesday, May 19, 2010

There are other options besides trustingTim Russert's son

That people would rather cut through the speculative bullshit from professional pundits and skip straight to the facts isn't all that surprising. Still, it's good to have some hard numbers out there that show that, yes, this could still be a profitable venture when it comes to modern journalism:

Has anyone else noticed that the Associated Press has been doing some strong fact-checking work lately, aggressively debunking all kinds of nonsense, in an authoritative way, without any of the usual he-said-she-said crap that often mars political reporting?

I asked AP Washington Bureau Chief Ron Fournier about this, and he told me something fascinating, if not all together unexpected: Their fact-checking efforts are almost uniformly the most clicked and most linked pieces they produce.

Journalistic fact-checking with authority, it turns out, is popular. Who woulda thunk it?

Some of it might be that people usually have less time on their hands today as well. If I'm in a hurry, I could care fuck-all about plowing through David Broder's false equivalences, I'd just want to know what's "not spin" and go on my way.

I think The Villagers aren't going to like this one bit, if they even acknowledge it (they won't). They really are of the impression that they make the news, and that the lowly populace craves, in fact needs, the news filtered through the brilliantly moderate minds of the media elite. So far, this assumption hasn't been seriously challenged, because really, who in the grand circle jerk of the Washington media machine would think to challenge it? Even if they could fathom that they aren't really as important as they believe (which I honestly don't think they can), they aren't going to threaten their own livelihood. So the only weapon credible journalists have against that mentality of "we know what the public wants because we just know" is a large sparkly dollar sign that continues to stubbornly defy their rules.

Via Steve Benen.

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