Wednesday, June 28, 2006

He Said She Said

I'm often amazed at many journalists fear of stating facts as, well, facts. Rather, they seem content to push the "he-said-she-said" story line. This latest article in the Seattly PI on Christine Gregoire, the Democratic governor of Washington, provides an example:
[Research director of the conservative think tank the Washington Policy Center] Paul Guppy said Gregoire's travels help build goodwill and make contacts, "but beyond that, I don't think it contributes very much."

Gregoire disagrees.

On a trip to Paris last year, Gregoire met with 11 potential suppliers that could expand or bring their businesses to Washington state. Since then, five of those companies have come to the state, she said.
I'm not sure why the author, Chris McGann, feels compelled to let this story become a Guppy v. Gregoire narative. Did five companies come to the state or not? That should be a statement of fact by McGann, not Gregoire. Have companies from other trips started doing business with/in Washington? I think those are relevant facts, whether or not it helps or hurts Gregoire. If the competing view is that these trips are ineffective, why not report on actual numbers instead of some conservative think tank spokesperson--or contributors to Gregoire's 2004 opponent--speak for themself?

This type of journalism, is frustrating to me. Facts are facts and should be reported as such. A journalist need not put their opinion, but objective facts don't need to be "balanced" by opposing views--contrary facts, if they exist, yes. Let the reader interpret. This is the same kind of crap that the Swift Boaters relied on to trash Kerry. Rather than reporting the facts, journalists "reported" the bogus claims of the disgraced Swift Boaters by merely stating that "some say ..."

This country needs information and it would be nice for journalists to report facts, not just people's opinions or statements. After all, I can repeat that I'm 6'5 until I'm blue in the face, but that does not make it so. Only a fool would report that as relevant (unless they were trying to show that I'm crazy).

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