Bonus quote: "Otherwise, again, the individual journalist is sucked into making and justifying an evaluation about which groups are credible. "
We are especially impressed with this observation, since we often encounter this problem when dealing with "journalists" like McArdle, Sanchez and their ilk:
If the issue is even moderately complex and the relevant players are bright enough not to make easily falsifiable claims, there's no reason to expect any kind of ultimate general vindication, since partisans and activists will always be willing and able to devote more time to the question than harried journos.
Careful, McArdle, people are catching on to you.
Not getting it wrong in a he-said/she-said story, by contrast, mostly just requires that you transcribe accurately.
As Steven Colbert said so memorably, the press's job is to take down what they are told, run it through spell-check, and go home. Finding out the truth is hard, you might be wrong, and there are always more liars out there anyway. Just ask Julian Sanchez.
ADDED: Mr. Sanchez joins us in comments. He believe we are in agreement; I disagree.