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Wednesday, August 29, 2012


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Addison Ingle

Mickey Kaus makes a good point re your post, part of which I note here:

So, as I understand it, this year the MSM will righteously strike back against “Post-Truth Politics” through rigorous fact-checking, followed by a manly, non-balanced, yet authoritative calling out of transgressors for the liars that they are. James Fallows and Jay Rosen, among others, have heralded this great new day. One problem, of course, is the ease–rather, the constant temptation–of presenting debatable policy issues as right/wrong fact issues, a problem emphasized by dissenter Ben Smith yesterday. Another is the way what Smith calls “the new pseudo science of fact-checks” opens up a giant sluice for the introduction of concealed bias, especially when “facts” are fed to the fact-checkers by the competing campaigns.

I admire your confession about downplaying the overwhelming Republican falsehoods, yet find that your admission is an indication of your bias, and therefore calls into question your ability to operate as a fact-checker. You, and I, are products of our reading and our beliefs; what we believe is very difficult to separate what we think is fact.



My biases have changed over the years. One of the things I attempted to do here in 2005 was to declare them as formally as possible -- which is one way of driving a stake in the ground before surveying the ground. It also helps because if you've declared your perspective in advance, it's not quite as easy for others to ascribe their preferred biases to your motives in order to dismiss you.

I'm glad that the mainstream press has begun to pick up on the problem of "view-from-nowhere" neutrality. Glad that there's at least some discussion of the role of the press in terms of trying to present and declare facts.

But what I didn't like about the weekend fallout was the way the press effectively treated the Ryan/Romney fact crisis like any other pack-mentality meme. Once it was clear that everyone was going to challenge Ryan's honesty, everyone had to join in. It's only courageous when you're the first to take a risk.

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