“What Is The Truth?”

By Brian 

ABC News president David Westin, in the Columbia
Journalism Review,
on last year’s controversial Nightline
broadcasting of the names of soldiers killed overseas: “How people
reacted to the broadcast seemed to depend more on the views of those
watching than it did on the imputed motives of those putting the
broadcast on the air.

“I made this point at the time to a senior White House official. He disagreed. He felt that our airing the program became a statement against the war, not because of what we said but because many people assumed our attitude was antiwar. To make the point clear, I asked him whether he would have had a different view if Fox News had put on the very same broadcast. He said that would be an entirely different case.

“This was a fascinating and powerful response. The imputing of motives, even where there is no conflict over the facts, tends to distract from the fundamental and essential question: What is the truth?”