> A journalist's bias in cherry picking from the public record is no
> better than anyone else's, if anything its less meaningful and more
> damaging than other sources of bias. Well trained journalists hedge
> against their own bias by making sure individuals in a story get a
> chance to comment.
Hmm, I don't think I can agree with that. A journalist's job is to try to portray an accurate picture of the events and issues at hand. The reader's job is to decide whether they believe that, on the whole, a particular journalist generally does that. If not, the journalist loses credibility and readers, perhaps eventually their job as well. Then, perhaps, they go into talk radio :)
More seriously, it is up to the journalist to determine what the right tools are for the job at hand. And, again, for readers to judge them on those choices.
In a 100-post thread, who should be contacted for comments? The fact is, they had a chance to comment, and did.
Everyone certainly has biases, but the journalistic tradition that quotes must always be sought from those engaged in the debate certainly has its limitations as well. Just the choice of who to ask for comments injects a bias into things. Bias can't be escaped.
I guess I just don't see the quote issue as black and white as you seem to.