Why is this important? Because the links allow smart readers to, in essence, fact-check Rich’s claims. By including the links, Rich (and The New York Times) begin to blur the lines ever so slightly between opinion and reporting. And in so doing, begin to reclaim the power and responsibility of The Fourth Estate.
I recently canceled delivery of the print version of The New York Times. I did so not because I stopped reading the paper, but because the paper in Web form is so much more accessible and powerful. That accessibility and power is most evident in today’s column by Frank Rich. Rich supports claims in his column by generously linking to a number of past articles and outside sources.