Imagine that you open your local paper to find a front-page package
headlined, "Census: Cincinnati losing at fastest rate."
The lede is, "No big city in America lost a greater percentage of its people during the past five years than Cincinnati, new U.S. Census figures show."
Also, every story in this package is labeled with a logo reading "Census Report."
There are two ways to interpret the thought process that went into this story.
One is to picture reporters and editors sitting around saying, "OK, we've gotta write a story on this new census stuff. What's the most interesting, newsworthy fact to come out of this report?" And then they decide that the city shrinking is more important than the growth in suburban Newtown, and they lead with that.
We'll call this Option A.
, apparently, is to picture reporters and editors sitting around saying, "OK, we want to write something really negative about Cincinnati. What can we find that's really bad about the city, so we can totally slam it and make it look like news?" And then they Google "Cincinnati" and "bad" and "yucky" and "we hate this place where we live" until they find - yes! - there's a census report that just happens to be coming out this week, and it has facts that could be interpreted in a totally factual - yet somehow incredibly biased - manner to make Cincinnati look bad!
We'll call this Option Jackass.
Look, when new census figures come out, the things they show are news
. As such, the paper reports on them. You wouldn't ever decry the press for reporting on, say, a murder, because it made the city look bad - would you?
Or say there was some sort of war going on, and the paper ran a story about bad things happening in that war - you certainly wouldn't ever say that the fault was with the paper
for reporting true things, would you
Of course not.