In remarking on John Avlon's assessment of the rising state of shameless hackery in American journalism, David Frum notes, "For what it's worth, I consider myself a partisan journalist and think the idea of journalistic objectivity is silly. But facts matter, and there's a major distinction between partisanship and hackery."
Agreed, yet I'd still maintain that journalistic objectivity is at least theoretically possible, though journalistic stenography is far more probable. The difference lies in the knowledge possessed and the effort applied by the reporter. It's far easier to simply repeat whatever one opposing side says--e.g., lower marginal tax rates on the wealthy create jobs--than to do painstaking, time-consuming, validating research, or, as the case may be, refuting research, and apply it to the story's content.
The more interesting question, though, is that of hackery versus what Frum calls "partisan journalism." He's correct in his fundamental distinction: hacks tend to simply dismiss unfavorable facts, a la Dick Morris. But is spinning facts--accentuating favorable ones and de-emphasizing the unfavorable--and calling it an act of partisan journalism valid?
Perhaps I'm old-fashioned, but to me the term "journalism"--and all the writing thereunder--implies a sacred duty to consciously spin nothing, whereas "commentary," duly labeled, is ethically free to spin away. Newspaper columns and blogs are merely an immense buffet of prejudiced commentary of one sort or another; a place where Krugman spins with the same intensity as Frum, and where Dionne is as emphatic in his selected facts as Sullivan.
Or, perhaps I'm making something out of nothing. Frum calls one rather extreme side of this opinionated mess the "conservative entertainment complex," while I see an equally revolting progressive entertainment complex as well. Maybe whatever's in the middle is, as he says, "partisan journalism"? I'm just not sure. I'm kinda in the middle on this.