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In an astounding column today, Arthur Brisbane, the NY Times Public Editor  essentially asks readers to tell him whether the Times should tell the truth.  The title of the column is "Should The Times Be a Truth Vigilante?"

Excuse me, but isn't the fundamental purpose of a newspaper to be a "Truth Vigilante?"

Mr. Brisbane gives two examples:  

An article in which a Supreme Court spokeswoman said Clarence Thomas had “misunderstood” a financial disclosure form when he failed to report certain of his wife's earnings.  
On the campaign trail, Mitt Romney often says President Obama has made speeches “apologizing for America.”

Atrios notes that this is "Not the Onion."

The comments almost universally are incredulous:

"I can't believe you are even seriously asking this question."

"I'm surprised this is even a question. To answer it, yes absolutely. This is the critical mission of the fourth estate."

My comment:

Let me echo the comments below. This indeed should not even be a question. In the example cited, the Times can state in the same story: "Notwithstanding Mr. Romney's statement, there is no record of President Obama stating that he "apologizes" or is "sorry" for any actions of the United States.

And in interviews, Mr. Romney should be asked to state specifically what statements by President Obama he is referring to when he says that the President is "apologizing" for America. That's just as big or a bigger problem. There is too often no follow up after politicians make a statement that is false.

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