accuracy

Walking away from him, she realized she was exhausted by the effort of the interview. Talking to a reporter these days was like a deadly chess match; you had to think several steps ahead; you had to imagine all the possible ways a reporter might distort your statement. The atmosphere was relentlessly adversarial.

It hadn’t always been that way. There was a time when reporters wanted information, their questions directed to an underlying event. They wanted an accurate picture of a situation, and to do that they had to make the effort to see things your way, to understand how you were thinking about it. They might not agree with you in the end, but it was a matter of pride that they could accurately state your view, before rejecting it. The interviewing process was not very personal, because the focus was on the event they were trying to understand.

But now reporters came to the story with the lead fixed in their minds; they saw their job as proving what they already knew. They didn’t want information so much as evidence of villainy. In this mode, they were openly skeptical of your point of view, since they assumed you were just being evasive. They proceeded from a presumption of universal guilt, in an atmosphere of muted hostility and suspicion.

-Michael Crichton Airframe

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