I think there’s some semantic game-playing in how you chose to summarize our debate. My view of journalism absolutely requires both fairness and rigorous adherence to facts. But I think those values are promoted by being honest about one’s perspectives and subjective assumptions rather than donning a voice-of-god, view-from-nowhere tone that falsely implies that journalists reside above the normal viewpoints and faction-loyalties that plague the non-journalist and the dreaded “activist.”
Embedded in The New York Times’s institutional perspective and reporting methodologies are all sorts of quite debatable and subjective political and cultural assumptions about the world. And with some noble exceptions, The Times, by design or otherwise, has long served the interests of the same set of elite and powerful factions. Its reporting is no less “activist,” subjective or opinion-driven than the new media voices it sometimes condescendingly scorns.
In general, I think Greenwald’s position looks better than Keller’s in this exchange, but Greenwald’s arrogance is titanic. Keller encourages him to be willing to learn to say that he is wrong, when he’s wrong, but it’s hard to imagine Greenwald doing that — at least, without insisting that if he’s wrong about one little thing he’s right right right about a thousand really big things.