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Adversaries or Critics?

- Abstract

DANIEL P. MOYNIHAN (p. 41) is right, of course: the attitudes of the adversary culture have more and more come to influence the way in which the daily press, the news weeklies, and the television networks report on public affairs.
In agreeing with this proposition I do not mean to say-any more than Mr. Moynihan means to suggest-that the New York Times or Newsweek or NBC deliberately distort the news to suit a particular political bias. On the contrary, the most rigorous and disciplined efforts are made to report the news as it happens, to be objective, to refrain from editorializing except on the editorial page or in clearly designated columns of comment.
(This devotion to objectivity, as Mr. Moynihan himself points out, poses problems of its own with respect to staged events or the publication of irresponsible allegations; but that is another matter.) Whenever a story turns out to be distorted, the blame more often falls on carelessness or incompetence than on the conscious wish to mislead. No doubt there are instances-of calculated misrepresentation, but I would guess that they are very rare indeed.

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