I just want to publicly thank the hard-working journalists at the Boston Globe for clearing up the burning issue of Sen. John Kerry’s ancestry. We the people can now rest assured that our republic is safe because enterprising reporters are on the job keeping a proper check on power. Just think of the danger to our freedoms that could have been caused if (horrors!) Kerry were to be elected and we didn’t know the truth about his long-dead relatives. (via PoliticalWire)
UPDATE (10:38 a.m.): Bruce Rheinstein’s cogent comment on this post (see also my reply) demonstrates that I need to explain how the question of a candidate’s honesty could/should be covered by the press. That’s a big topic that I’m sure I’ll cover many times over the course of the presidential campaign. For now:
First, I think it’s a matter of degree. I think journalists should consider the content of an assertion in the context of policy first and leadership second.
Second, if the assertion involves a matter of spin more than a matter of policy, I think it should be reported as spin. In other words, I’d like to see journalists report spin points in the context of modern, electronically mediated campaigns, in which political success may be considered a function of image building. In this case, Kerry’s assertion (however made) that he is Irish can and should be reported as a matter of spin, not honesty. I think the Globe errs by degree (by, among other things, giving this article so much space and page-1 play).
Finally, a personal note to Bruce: In my reply to your comment, I do not mean the term “rationalization” pejoratively.