FRIDAY, AUGUST 31, 2012
Won’t tell the truth about Ryan: The New York Times did the right thing this morning, even though its execution was flawed.
Quite correctly, the Times did a stand-alone news report about the string of groaners in Paul Ryan’s convention address. In our hard-copy Times, the stand-alone report bore this perfectly accurate headline:
“Facts Took a Beating In Ryan’s Speech”
The Times deserves a lot of credit for taking this approach—and for writing that accurate headline. By way of contrast, consider what the Washington Post did in this morning’s paper.
The paper includes a Gene Robinson column, “Paul Ryan, Whopper King.” It includes Melinda Henneberger’s opinion column, “We are all fact checkers now, of necessity.”
(Henneberger offers this assessment of Ryan’s address: “As I listened to Paul Ryan, tweeting as I went, I couldn't remember ever hearing an acceptance speech so rich in untrue un-facts.” Our reaction exactly.)
The paper includes a Fact-Checker column on Ryan's address, although that’s a fairly standard presentation in the Washington Post.
If you bought today’s Washington Post, you would have seen two columns about Ryan’s misstatements, along with the Fact-Checker feature. You would not have seen a news report telling you that, as a matter of fact, Ryan said a bunch of things which just weren’t especially true.
The New York Times correctly judged that the degree of dissembling in Ryan’s speech rated a stand-alone report. We agree with that judgment.
The Washington Post reached a different judgment. In place of a news report about Ryan’s misstatements, the Post presented a front-page news report about the fact-checking of Ryan’s speech.
Are you following us here? The Post didn’t do a report about Ryan’s misstatements. Instead, the Post did a report about the people reporting Ryan’s misstatements!
The Post decided to cover the coverage instead of the whoppers themselves.
The Post might be right in its judgment, of course. Or the Washington Post may have succumbed to wet palms and cold clammy fear.
They found it so easy to lie about Gore! And they find it so hard to tell the truth about bold honest truthful Paul Ryan.