A(ggressive) P(assively)

Hey, Ron Fournier! You know that whole “accountability journalism” thing you’re trying? Well, there’s a fine line between accountability and mockery. Take this little gem of a lede (h/t: TNR) from your organization’s assessment of Sarah Palin’s most recent TrooperGate turnabout:

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Less than a week after balking at the Alaska Legislature’s investigation into her alleged abuse of power, Gov. Sarah Palin on Monday indicated she will cooperate with a separate probe run by people she can fire.

First of all: Zing. Second of all: It’s an open question, I think, whether Fournier’s foray into “accountability journalism” is, indeed, beneficial to news organizations that rely on AP copy—or, put another way, whether “oh, SNAP!” is really a reaction AP stories should be evoking among readers. But it’s hard to argue with the fact that the AP’s single-sentence assessment here—which Eve Fairbanks called “the most dryly contemptuous lead sentence I’ve read in a political news story in a while”—is perhaps the pithiest summary of this latest irony in the irony-laden TrooperGate affair. Because, after all, the line between objectivity and accuracy is a fine one, as well.

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Megan Garber is an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University. She was formerly a CJR staff writer.