THOMAS: I listened to some of the clips, and in the clips I saw, I don't think he was fabricating. He just didn't tell all of the truth. Maybe they were saving the--
PINKERTON: Now he gave it away, he gave it away now by saying he was told not to do it.
THOMAS: Maybe they were saving the secrets to be leaked to the New York Times or Wikileaks.
MILLER: Well, the issue is now they tell us. Now he tells us that he's gone over to the other side, I'm not going to call it the dark side, but you know, come on, this is a guy who's joined MSNBC, and he wants to make some news and he wants to demonstrate his distance from the White House, so the way you do this is to say something that was obvious, that is that he was not going to talk about it.
RATNER: But what is the benefit of him saying that? I mean, MSNBC is still going to employ him no matter what. I don't understand, there must be something going on, which I don't think the press has explored, about his relationship with this White House or I don't think he would have said it.
SCOTT: There's no benefit to this White House if you're trying to portray yourself as the most open and transparent in history.
We have to move on. Patrick Pexton is the now former ombudsman for "The Washington Post." He delivered his final column last Sunday, taking on a reader's concern that the Post has a strong pro-gay bias. Pexton used emails from the reader who claims Post stories minimize the conservative view, and an unnamed reporter at the Post. The reporter, "the reason that legitimate media outlets routinely cover gays is because it is the civil rights issue of our time. Journalism at its core is about justice and fairness, and that's the view of the world that we espouse. Therefore, journalists are going to cover the segment of society that's still not treated equally under the law." The readers writes, "contrary to what you say, the mission of journalism is not justice. Defining justice is a political matter, not journalistic. Journalism should be about accuracy and fairness. Good journalism also means not demeaning conservatives as haters." What do you think about those points, Jim?
PINKERTON: That was a pretty good discussion back and forth, and I think you've got a window into the soul of much of the mainstream media that says our purpose here is not so much the truth as it is justice and fairness - there is a distinction to be made -- and this report-- this reader who ought to be a reporter, too, but of course will never get an offer, I think called it the way the First Amendment was intended, which is to tell the truth.
SCOTT: Can you have justice and fairness without truth?
MILLER: Well, it helps when they go together. Look, I thought that the exchange was illuminating for the reasons that Jim said, but also because I think it's good when a reporter gets a chance to express what motivates and what motive him or her, to talk about their reporting. Because the readers know there's an agenda there, they just want to know what it is.
RATNER: It depends where you come down on this, and I think that this is a civil rights issue of our time. And in the 1960s, we wouldn't put the other side in The Washington Post, not we, I (inaudible) hired (ph) by them, but is there another side to this? I'm not sure there is.
THOMAS: Well, African-Americans, including among the preachers, resent this being compared to a civil rights issue, and I think the ombudsman was absolutely correct. There is another point of view, and it doesn't get the kind of fairness it deserves.
SCOTT: Next on "News Watch." One last shot at the New York Times.
SCOTT: Our next story as featured in the New York Post falls under the getting the last laugh column. This is a guy named Amos Shuchman. He passed away last month when he was 84 years old, a New Yorker, a retired stockbroker, born in Israel. He loved his family, he liked finance, skiing, opera, ballet, and biking in Central Park. And according to his paid obituary, Mr. Shookman loved everything about New York City except for The New York Times.
That obituary appeared in The New York Times. Mr. Shookman's son Daniel says his father did not believe The Times provided honest and objective reporting. His family believes Amos is in heaven with a copy of the New York Post and a falafel sandwich, having a good chuckle over his notoriety.
And last week I was in Washington, D.C., where I met a big fan of this program, Michael Hayden. So if you are a fan of this program as well, you are in good company with the former head of the CIA and the National Security Agency. He told me he and his wife DVR "News Watch" every week.
And that's a wrap on "News Watch." Thanks to Judy, Jim, Cal and Ellen. We'll see you again, next week.
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