We’ve talked before about my distinction (not just mine!) between being ‘impartial‘ (or big O objective) versus being FAIR — which I (naively?) primarily define as telling the truth.

Some partisans (who shall remain charitably nameless lest we upset their finely-balanced narcotic calm) seem to me to frequently stoop to spinning half-truths or outright lies — bundled with vitriol, abuse and hypocritical ravings against the ‘other side’, calling them ‘nasty’ while being the epitome of an unpleasant untruthful antagonist.

It’s natural to be more sensitive to the faults of those on one’s ‘sh*t list’, but even so, it’s hard to properly capture the dismay I personally experience when someone whose analysis can at times exude rigour lets their team loyalty cause them to use unworthy agitprop tactics like smushing the facts. Too bad.

Here’s a comment I appreciate on the issue of accuracy from US broadcaster Rachel Maddow … part of an excellent profile on her I read in The Guardian last year Rachel Maddow: ‘I’m definitely not an autocutie’

“I think a lot of people of my generation are discomfited by the assertion of neutrality in the mainstream media, this idea that they’re the voice of God. I think it’s just honest to say, yes, you know where I’m coming from but you can fact-check anything I say.”

Rachel Maddow on media ’neutrality’ in The Guardian April 2011

And that, as I have said before, is where I come from too. Sure, I may have some bugbears (or bees in my bonnet?) but nothing justifies publishing non-facts in the guise of facts, or pretending to ‘break news’ when the (ahem) ‘reporter’ is, in fact, a political actor or party team player.

Re-kindling some latin: Caveat lector — Let the reader beware.

- P