Molly Ivins

Molly Ivins

Molly Ivins on fair and balanced news

The very notion that on any given story all you have to do is report what both sides say and you’ve done a fine job of objective journalism debilitates the press. There is no such thing as objectivity, and the truth, that slippery little bugger, has the oddest habit of being way to hell off on one side or the other: it seldom nestles neatly halfway between any two opposing points of view. The smug complacency of much of the press—I have heard many an editor say, “Well, we’re being attacked by both sides so we must be right”—stems from the curious notion that if you get a quote from someone on both sides, preferably in an official position, you’ve done the job. In the first place, most stories aren’t two-sided, they’re 17-sided at least. In the second place, it’s of no help to either the readers or the truth to quote one side saying, “Cat,” and the other side saying “Dog,” while the truth is there’s an elephant crashing around out there in the bushes. Getting up off your duff and going to find out for yourself is still the most useful thing a reporter can do.
Molly Ivins in her Introduction to Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon‘s Adventures in Medialand: Behind the news, beyond the pundits, (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1993), p. ix-x. Cited as the Quotation of the Day for March 20, 2010; submitted by Kathleen Magone on March 10, 2010.