Quick definition: “He said, she said” journalism means…
* There’s a public dispute.
* The dispute makes news.
* No real attempt is made to assess clashing truth claims in the story, even though they are in some sense the reason for the story. (Under the “conflict makes news” test.)
* The means for assessment do exist, so it’s possible to exert a factual check on some of the claims, but for whatever reason the report declines to make use of them.
* The symmetry of two sides making opposite claims puts the reporter in the middle between polarized extremes.
When these five conditions are met, the genre is in gear.
This is journalistic discourse in general. It’s also a prime culprit of the faulty notion that “all opinions are correct”, since when nobody bothers to fact-check, it remains forever an opinion.
This discursive pervasion results in a discursive perversion that destroys people’s ability to attach meaning or validity to something in any valuable way. The media (“the media” - the major institutions of TV and print, plus their less-influential cyber and radio tentacles) also use this as a tactical maneuver to insulate themselves from flak or criticism, having avoided taking responsibility for something like eg. interpreting and communicating the apparent (in)correctness of a situation.