Ezra Klein makes an important point about the tendency of journalists to attribute uncomfortable facts to the other party in an effort to appear neutral:
Ryan Avent notices a big ol' Post headline today: “Democrats Say Palin Initially Backed Bridge.” ... [A]ssuming this isn't an undergrad philosophy class, Palin's support or opposition to the Bridge is probably part of the public record. And oh wait, here it is, right in the same Post story:
While campaigning in Ketchikan in September 2006, Palin indicated support for the bridge project, assuming there was no better alternative. “This link is a commitment to help Ketchikan expand its access, to help this community prosper,” she told the local chamber of commerce, according to an account in the Ketchikan Daily News.
In other words, Democrats don't "say" Palin initially backed the Bridge, Palin says she initially backed the Bridge, which is to say, Palin initially backed the Bridge, and Democrats are drawing attention to her statement. Attaching a "Democrats say" to "Palin initially backed bridge" makes no more sense than attaching a "Reporters say" to "Gustav Lashes Gulf Coast; Levee System Tested." It's a nonsensical appendage meant to undermine the authority of the story's conclusions: These things are either true or they aren't, and people are paying the Washington Post good money to clear up that ambiguity for them.
It's a great example of how "objective" journalism devolves into a "he said," "she said" posture in which reporters refuse to referee between competing factual claims (see All the President's Spin for more).