We can handle the truth

Eric Alterman and Michael Tomasky have a great article in the March edition the American Prospect.

Are our national media – schoolyard silly during campaign 2000, by turns somnolent and sycophantic ever since – starting to rouse themselves from their long torpor? It’s still way too early to answer that question with a “yes,” but if that’s what the answer turns out to be, the first week of February may have marked a turning point.

In that week, the media started raising new questions about the justification for the Iraq War; broke an important story about the administration knowing last fall that the Medicare bill would cost $134 billion more than it let on to its employers (the public); broke another about a probe of alleged bribes at Dick Cheney’s Halliburton; and finally, led by The Boston Globe’s Walter Robinson, started to take a semi-meaningful look into George W. Bush’s disputed National Guard record.

Don’t start dancing to the music just yet, though. Bad habits die hard, and we’ve all come to expect too little genuine journalism and far too much of what might be called “journalism-related program activity.”

My favorite part comes in a continuation of the assault on the spectre of journalistic objectivity. I am assuming this is Alterman, because this is a pet issue of his, it seems, and he really nails it here:

We’ve entered an age in which instantaneous Web analyses are quickly getting readers accustomed to ways of taking in news that are more frank and opinionated. Editors need to reconsider these conventions and reinvigorate them so that they are less concerned with giving equal weight to each side and more concerned with pursuing the factual truth (and yes, this should apply to lying Democrats as well). Truth is sometimes elusive and hard to pin down. It is, however, the point.