I’m looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge “facts” that are asserted by newsmakers they write about.
No. Instead they should:
1) boil every nuanced issue down to two diametrically-opposed sides
2) give each side equal reporting time even if the one side represents a fringe opinion not shared by most people qualified to discuss the issue
3) assume a kind of faux “objectivity” in which news reporters are not allowed to describe actual facts but only to present the “competing theories” of the two sides
4) if by accident a news story should suggest that a fact presented by one individual might be false, immediately correct for this by pointing out that individuals on the opposing team also sometimes present false facts. Bonus points if these counterexample facts have nothing to do with the issue under discussion and serve only to stretch the human capacity for metaphorical thinking to its breaking point.