In some ways, the well-written package includes some of the worst conceits of mainstream journalism. The main story is one of those “none dare call it lying” pieces that dwells on Bachmann’s polarization and tees up her bogus assertions as claims and counterclaims in a political tug-of-war.
The sidebar outsources that factchecking to Politifact.org, the St. Petersburg Times operation that has Bachmann going six-for-six on falsehoods. The piece ends with a priceless Bachmann-staffer fact-free response, which reporter Monica Davey doesn’t feel the need to underline as such: “Despite the fact that they try to make themselves sound above the fray and objective, PolitiFact is nothing more than another Web site trying to make its own headlines.”
It’s fine to get multiple sides of the story — America probably does need to understand why a Democratic state elects a Republican extremist, and even a blind extremist finds an ACORN every once in awhile. But the fact that the nation’s “paper of record” couldn’t add to others’ factchecking, or put more of a point on Bachmann’s manifest irresponsibility/evasiveness, is sad indeed.