hear, hear

slacktivist complains about the media:

Reality Matters, Part 2

Another disappointing example of “he said/she said” journalism:

In a New York Times analysis titled “2 Iraq Views, 2 Campaigns,” David E. Sanger says it’s difficult to tell whether President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry are talking about the same war or even the same place called “Iraq”:

At the marble podium of the United Nations, Mr. Bush on Tuesday morning described an Iraq that “has rejoined the community of nations” and is well on the way to being “secure, democratic, federal and free” if the world, and America’s allies, do not lose their nerve. …

The day before, just two miles to the south, Mr. Kerry spoke of an invasion of Iraq that “has created a crisis of historic proportions,” and warned that “if we do not change course there is the prospect of a war with no end in sight.” He went on to describe a country that bore no resemblance to the one Mr. Bush portrays, one of bombings, beheadings, rampant unemployment and few allies sharing the burden.

Sanger does a good job of showing the contrast between what Bush says and what Kerry says, but he seems less interested in the far more important question: Which description of the situation in Iraq is more accurate? He offers hints, but never explicitly attempts to evaluate either Bush’s or Kerry’s statements in terms of how well they correlate to the actual situation. Even in an “analysis” piece, he doesn’t seem comfortable drawing conclusions based on facts.

The only explanation for this reluctance seems, again, to stem from some weird mutation of French literary theory. Journalists sound like Derrida — reality is unknowable except as a social construct manifesting claims to power. Or like Pilate — “what is truth?”

Pilate, of course, wasn’t really interested in an answer to that question. But shouldn’t journalists be? Shouldn’t voters be?

I’m tired of reading stories with headlines like “2 candidates, 2 Iraq views.” Here’s the story I want to read: “2 views, 1 Iraq.”