Since I'm complaining about The AP today, it's only fair to cite--not to mention, this memo is legitimate--and welcome-- news of its own.
Don't give equal weight to spin. Just because a public official says it doesn't mean you need to put it in your story or give his claim equal billing to what you know to be true. We have an obligation to write factual and fair stories, but we are not obliged to print attacks, spin or distortion under the cover of "fair comment."
You wouldn't think we'd have to say this, would you? But clearly we do. The influence of talking-head TV shows, who will put anyone, absolutely anyone, on the air and allow them to say anything virtually unchallenged, has, I believe, damaged us in print, too.