Newspapers are careful about how they present information to the reader. If something is widely accepted, the paper will print it without citation. If it's contested or is an opinion, journalists will often quote an expert, a politician, an activist, or a scholar.
The problem is that sometimes partisans contest obvious facts and rather than printing those facts as true on their face, journalists will treat it as a controversial idea.
Consider a recent Los Angeles Times article about the fed considering a third round of buying its own debt. The reporter is comfortable stating facts and making conclusions in the opening three paragraphs:
global investors can't seem to own enough
That could help some Americans buy homes or refinance mortgages. But Wall Street doesn't see much hope that the Fed can give a significant boost to the economy.
That's fine. But when it comes to discussing the idea that buying our own debt with printed money leads to inflation, the Times felt the need to demote that fact to a partisan opinion.
The difference this time is that most analysts believe that the Fed won't print new money to fund its purchases. If the central bank merely swaps shorter-term Treasuries for longer-term securities, the net amount of its holdings won't change.
Bernanke thereby might avoid criticism from Republican leaders, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who have said the Fed's efforts to pump more money into the economy could eventually stoke inflation.
Could? In the second round of "quantitative easing," $600 billion was printed. That's not definitely going to lead to inflation, L.A. Times? Even the government's owned cooked numbers showed inflation just ticked up.
This is not a knock against this journalist, and not even the Times so much. It's the culture of professional journalism--its weak spot is tying all the facts together for the reader. The truth hurts, and the industry sidesteps important issues to deliver milquetoast generalities.