The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

With great power comes great responsibility.

It might be from Spider-Man, but it's a good thing to remember. Media Matters has decided to remind the New York Times of just that in an open letter. Good stuff. Here's an excerpt:

"As the Times' editors must understand, your paper occupies a unique place in American journalism, with an ability to set the news agenda and the larger political agenda that is unparalleled among news organizations, even those with vastly larger audiences. This power confers upon you a particular obligation to act responsibly and uphold the highest standards of your profession. We applaud you for looking to "find ways to present more contrarian and unexpected viewpoints in our news pages." We hope that your concern that the paper's perceived liberal viewpoint on its editorial pages not undermine the credibility of its news coverage will not translate into hiring conservative ideologues to report the news, which would serve neither the organization nor Times readers. Your call for diverse viewpoints is laudable, but, as you know, not all debates have two equally valid "sides," and readers should be able to rely on the Times to make those critical distinctions.

This is especially important now, at a time when the current administration has, for all intents and purposes, declared open war on the very idea of an independent press. The administration's conservative allies have simultaneously endeavored to impose a post-modern ideology of doctrinaire relativism on the media, so that all news is seen as ideological and there is no common set of facts on which we can all agree. In this context, the "he said-she said" trap into which the Times and other news organizations so regularly fall becomes particularly pernicious."

I love these guys.