The New York Times Asks: “Should We Be Truth Vigilantes?” Ethics Alarms Answers: “No, Because You Can’t Be Trusted.”

Should Times reporters be like Wonder Woman's lasso of truth?

In an appeal to New York Times readers that is at once alarming, naive, arrogant and ominous, Arthur Brisbane, the Times’ “public editor” (Translation: ombudsman) asks whether the paper’s reporters should be “truth vigilante(s)… should challenge ‘facts’ that are asserted by newsmakers they write about.”

The answer is no, no, no, and for the obvious reasons. Times reporters are biased, and not inclined to challenge dubious statements they agree with or that come from political figures they like, and are inclined to find statements “non-factual” because of their own preferences and biases. Helpfully, the two examples cited by Brisbane are exactly the kinds of statements the Times, and most of the press, are completely incapable of handling fairly. Here’s the first: Continue reading