The wanton equating of facts with myths cannot be acceptable and is not journalistic objectivity. It may be neutrality, but it’s a false neutrality that does not lead to the truth.
I learned this in a much bloodier crucible, the one in which I was baptized as a foreign correspondent.
The violent 1990s breakup of the Balkans, the war in Bosnia that I covered from start to finish, taught me to reject the deadly lies told by the parties to the conflict, and the false claims by western governments and armchair intellectuals at the time, that all sides are equally guilty and that this tragic war, the ethnic cleansing and the genocide, were all but inevitable due to “centuries of ethnic hatreds.”
This is the defining force of my professional life, which taught me enduring lessons in seeking facts above all, in understanding our golden rule, which is real objectivity, does not mean ever drawing false factual or moral equivalence. It taught me to respect the truth, to speak truth to power, and keep insisting on digging for the facts and the empirical evidence.
I end this screed with this incredible comment on CNN this weekend from official Donald Trump surrogate and supporter, Jeffrey Lord: Fact-checking is an “out-of-touch elitist media-type thing.”