Our new, angry, squabbling media

The news business, aloof from criticism for far too long, should absolutely be held accountable. These days, though, the constant swirl of accusations, the charges of bias and personal perfidy, have tarred even those who are working hard to be fair.

No media person is perfect, including me, but I cling to the belief that facts matter. That, however, is in danger of becoming an old-fashioned view, along with the virtue of calling people for comment before you unload on them. (Too slow, why wait, let them deny the charge later.) Instead, the toxic atmosphere that many media outlets tolerate, and sometimes foster, is slowly poisoning the discourse, for us and, yes, for you.

All the incentives these days — for ratings and circulation and Web hits and just getting noticed — lie in the direction of running and gunning.