With plenty of deliciously partisan back-and -forth to tempt a political reporter’s tummy lately, The Christian Science Monitor’s Brad Knickerbocker today offers readers this healthy alternative: an issue article.

Yes, Knickerbocker has written a story that attempts to, within the limited space allotted, explain the candidates’ positions on a specific issue — in this case, the environment — and, possibly, aid readers in making informed decisions come November.

While acknowledging that “national security and the economy are twin gorillas in the campaign,” Knickerbocker suggests that the environment can “significantly change the balance in a tight race — as Ralph Nader and the Green Party showed four years ago.” He grants Pres. George W. Bush’s and Sen. John Kerry’s environmental efforts roughly equal space, and informs readers that while Bush has critics, “many environmentalists praised the regulations he ordered to reduce pollution from diesel engines.” Readers also learn that Kerry “favors oil drilling in some areas, just not in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge” and that “he’s pushed for stiffer fuel-efficiency standards for motor vehicles, but he welcomes some market-based solutions.”

While the piece is not completely comprehensive, nor without flaws (at one point Knickerbocker cites “public opinion surveys” and it would be nice to know which ones, and at another point he quotes from a “confidential memo to elected Republican leaders … [from] GOP pollster Frank Luntz” which begs the question of where, exactly, he got it) Knickerbocker’s is a noble effort.

Campaign Desk is glad to see some green stuff (broccoli, perhaps?) on media plates. When it comes to stories like this, we have this to say to the political press corps: Bring. It. On. (Please?)

Liz Cox Barrett

Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.