08/11/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Is It Really So Difficult to Do Actual Reporting?

Michael Gerson's column suggesting Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter for vice-president is the latest example of someone paid to report the facts actually refusing to do 5 minutes of work to, ya know, report the facts. The basis for Gerson's support for Ritter is that he is one of "two popular red-state Democratic governors."

Now, I think it would be great to see Ritter on the Democratic ticket -- but I also think it would be great for people paid to report facts to actually check the facts. Because had Gerson bothered to take 5 minutes looking at the actual empirical public opinion data, he would have found that Bill Ritter isn't that popular. In fact, he would have found that Bill Ritter is unpopular.

Let me reiterate -- this is about journalism, not about Bill Ritter. I think he'd make an intriguing choice for VP, and I wish he was more popular. But if I wrote a column about Ritter for VP, I would not come right out of the gate pushing a pure, provable fiction that exposes me as a slothful purveyor of fantasies that I fabricate in my own head. That such sloth pervades our most Serious Newspapers of Record should irritate everyone who takes the craft of journalism seriously.