Pages Menu
TwitterRssFacebook
Categories Menu

Posted by on Sep 17, 2012 in 2012 Elections, Media, Politics, Society | 10 comments

Media Lies Based on False Balance

If Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan started saying the world is flat, most conventional journalists would repeat the assertions and offset them with contrary opinions.

This kind of “false balance” is the subject of the New York Times’ promising new Public Editor Margaret Sullivan, who examines the proposition that it should be called “false equivalency”:

“Simply put, false balance is the journalistic practice of giving equal weight to both sides of a story, regardless of an established truth on one side. And many people are fed up with it. They don’t want to hear lies or half-truths given credence on one side, and shot down on the other. They want some real answers.”

On issues where answers are elusive but not impossible to pin down, such as voter fraud/suppression, getting beyond false balance is left to media fringes such as Bill Moyers and Jon Stewart, rather than mass media.

“There’s a lot of reasonable disagreement on both sides,” says the Times national editor. “One side says there’s not significant voter fraud; the other side says there’s not significant voter suppression.”

Yet the facts are otherwise (see Stewart and Moyers), but it would hard to learn that from Times “balanced” reporting.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the Senate’s last sage, is invoked in the argument, recalling his dictum that opponents are entitled to their opinions but not their own facts.

Moynihan is best known for his sociological proposition, “Defining Deviancy Down,” in which he wrote of declining standards in public discourse, “We are getting used to a lot of behavior that is not good for us.”

MORE.

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2012 The Moderate Voice
  • ShannonLeee

    Very relevant!
    The advantage of Fox and MSNBC is that they own a bias. They do not have the problem of having to appear unbiased with their reporting as other news outlets. It would be great to see a major news outlet say, “we are going to report it how we see it and you decide if you think we are fair”. Dancing around the political middle like CNN is the fastest way to irrelevance.

  • zephyr

    Simply put, false balance is the journalistic practice of giving equal weight to both sides of a story, regardless of an established truth on one side.

    Nice to see people starting to catch up a bit. I’ve been saying this for years -when nobody else was saying it.

  • Willwright

    It seems today some media outlets don’t play by the old rules, both Fox and MSNBC are examples. It’s worked for them as their ratings have shown. People now tend to view outlets that reflect their personal outlook on the world and politics. I don’t like any of this but I’m at a loss to suggest any concrete solutions. In the old days when there were only 3 major networks with real journalists the old rules worked. Today with an infinite number of outlets possible this sort of issue seems inevitable. I agree with Zephyr that more people are becoming aware of the issue which is at least a first step.

  • One problem as seen by this novice is “punditry” has replaced “reporting” as “news”.

    Personally, I have no problem with “Point/Counterpoint” commentaries & editorials, but reporting needs to be based on facts.

  • Willwright

    One problem as seen by this novice is “punditry” has replaced “reporting” as “news”.

    Personally, I have no problem with “Point/Counterpoint” commentaries & editorials, but reporting needs to be based on facts.

    The punditry problem is when it’s passed off as news reporting. I agree that there is value in commentaries but that news ought to be based on facts. The lines are definitely being blurred today.

  • This whole notion of a “liberal media” because their facts don’t support your opinions has got to go. The conservatives essentially constructed a boogey-man, that even to this date they claim exists, that almost forces networks into this false-balance position. Add to that the way that news organiziations have to try not to ruffle any of their viewer’s feathers – otherwise they lose ratings.

    Despite the obvious bias of the show, I like that “Newsroom” took on this notion that ratings are what matter most for news-reporting.

  • Rcoutme

    SS: it is a well-known (in Republican and Fox News circles) reality that facts have a liberal bias.

  • SS: it is a well-known (in Republican and Fox News circles) reality that facts have a liberal bias.

    Ha! 😀

  • The_Ohioan

    Rcoutme

    🙂

  • ProWife

    I must give Fox credit they jumped all over the Kate Middleton topless photo story.
    Now, that is fair and balanced news reporting!

Twitter Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com