The Gun Debate

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Today's column reporting that gun deaths have been halved in the last decade led to a spirited debate among commentors on the story. You can decide for yourself who brings better facts to the table.

One of the (less remembered, now) adages of journalism is this: There are three sides to every story -- his side, her side, and the truth. You can see that, for example, in testimony in almost every trial. Witnesses swear to facts that contradict one another.

Each may be telling the "truth," as they see it. The job of the reporter is to lay the testimony on the table and let the reader decide. The job of the columnist is to sort through the facts and support the better argument.

It is hard to determine the "truth," but it is less hard to check the facts.

Here's a segue: I just saw an editorial cartoon that suggests the Benghazi whistle-blowers are Repubican stooges. For one thing, that's not true. The State Department officials are (largely) apolitical. They are professionals tasked with carrying out the current President's orders.

For another, I don't care. As a reporter, I don't care about the "color" of my source, I care only about the accuracy of the information. I would take 411 from the devil himself if it stood the test of scrutiny.

Learn the facts and deal with them. Who supplied them is not very important. If they check out, they check out.  

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