At all times, we report for our readers and listeners, not our
sources. So our primary consideration when presenting the news is
that we are fair to the truth. If our sources try to mislead us or
put a false spin on the information they give us, we tell our
audience. If the balance of evidence in a matter of controversy
weighs heavily on one side, we acknowledge it in our reports. We
strive to give our audience confidence that all sides have been
considered and represented fairly.
With these words, NPR commits itself as an organization to avoid
the worst excesses of “he said, she said” journalism. It says to
itself that a report characterized by false balance is a false
report. It introduces a new and potentially powerful concept of
fairness: being “fair to the truth,” which as we know is not
always evenly distributed among the sides in a public dispute.