The Post Takes a Baby Step in the Right Direction

On Friday, the Washington Post ran an article analyzing the fiscal impact of the proposals that President Bush identified during his press conference as priorities for his second term.

What piqued Campaign Desk’s interest is that the piece ran under the same slug, “For the Record,” that the paper used during the campaign to highlight its fact-checking pieces. As we’ve noted before, giving fact-checking a category of its own, instead of weaving it seamlessly into the rest of the coverage, isn’t the ideal solution. But it’s far better than branding it “analysis,” as the Associated Press did with its own article doing the math on Bush’s proposals — and as it does anytime it screws up its nerve to assert a fact on its own, instead of hiding behind the skirts of some expert or another. (Is it analysis to point out that “the sun sets in the west” — or is it fact?)

Here’s hoping the Post’s piece signals a continuation of the welcome, albeit belated, fact-checking frenzy that we saw during the last weeks of the campaign — and hoping as well that the approach seeps into all of the Post’s (and everyone else’s) coverage, political or otherwise.

After all, the spin isn’t going to stop just because the campaign is over.


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Bryan Keefer was CJR Daily’s deputy managing editor.