Holding Politicians Accountable

HOLDING POLITICIANS ACCOUNTABLE….William Saletan, not exactly a reflexive Kerry supporter, ends his column in Slate today with this:

I know I’ve been hard on the president lately. I’d like to say something nice about him. I’d like to be “fair and balanced.” But my first responsibility as a reporter is to the truth. When one candidate tells half the truth, and the other says the truth doesn’t matter, it becomes irresponsible for me or any other journalist not to report that by that standard ? the standard of respecting the truth standard ? one candidate is head and shoulders above the other.

More and more reporters are finally getting as fed up about this as Saletan and they’re starting to go public. None of them want to look like they favor one candidate over the other ? in fact, many of them bend over backwards to be too fair to Bush ? but eventually they don’t have a choice. Although every politician stretches the truth here and there, George Bush has gone so far beyond normal political puffery that it’s impossible not to call him on it anymore.

As several people have noted, the Bush campaign has taken very deliberate advantage of the media’s effort to be objective, knowing that no matter what they say it will probably be reported as a mere partisan difference of opinion. That needs to stop, and the only way to stop it is for the press to hold politicians clearly accountable when they step as far over the line as Bush has.

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