More than a century ago, way back in 1906, Mark Twain said, “There are only two forces that can carry light to all the corners of the globe — only two — the sun in the heavens and the Associated Press down here.”
For the rest of the 20th century, the AP was America’s — even the world’s — most unbiased news source. If the agency quoted a top House Democrat saying one thing, they’d quote a top Republican a few paragraphs down saying just the opposite. For every point, there was a counterpoint.
That’s how the world is. Of course there are “facts,” but many can be interpreted in myriad ways. The AP, like a lot of news agencies at the time, simply sought to lay out the two sides — or sometimes 12 sides — and let the reader decide.
All that changed in the 21st century. The Internet was beginning to bloom and afternoon newspapers across the U.S. —