Left: Nina Totenberg in 2015. Right: Jane Mayer in 2021. (Andrew Burton, Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

Two recent incidents illustrate the shamelessness of contemporary reporters. Anything goes when you’re in an imaginary fight to save democracy.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T he narrator of Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City, a novel set against the depravity of 1980s New York, works in the “Department of Factual Verification” at a magazine that sounds conspicuously like the New Yorker. There, a fact-checker has “the sole aim of sorting out matters of fact from matters of opinion, disregarding the latter, and tracking the alleged facts through dusty volumes, along skeins of microfilm, across transcontinental telephone cables, till they prove good or are exposed as error.” This is how many of us grew up thinking about publications like the New Yorker — well, as much


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