There's an old saying in journalism: if you use half the information you've gathered in your finished piece, you haven't done nearly enough reporting.
All of which brings up the issue of selectivity. How do you select what you leave in and what gets left in the deep recesses of your hard drive? That's the kind of question that keeps reporters up at night. Or should. It's a big issue -- whether you're thinking column inches or the short attention spans of online readers. Given the limits of time and space, how do you make sure you are playing fair, giving the readers an adequate representation of the facts at hand?
If you read my post on objectivity yesterday, you can guess where I'm going with this. Sarah Palin was on a money-raising tour of the San Francisco Bay Area yesterday, where her "palling around with terrorists" (actually she changed the plural to singular) has become her new stump speech.
Her speech was covered by both the San Jose Mercury and the San Francisco Chronicle. Good pieces that covered what she said, within the context of what such attacks mean for the campaign. Both included responses from the Obama campaign as well. Balance, right?
But what struck me is what the reporters who covered the speech (or their copy editors) left out. Namely that Bill Ayers, the domestic terrorist to whom Palin refers, is a Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He and Barrack Obama met while working on a project that was a part of a national school reform effort financed by Walter H. Annenberg, the publisher and philanthropist and President Richard M. Nixon’s ambassador to the United Kingdom.
Seems to me, that little add should be included as well for the folks who read what Palin says, but never go any further than that.
Just to be fair. bk