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The Falsest Balance in journalism

Corporate journalists are, apparently, constitutionally incapable of escaping the ‘false balance’, i.e., “he said, she said” mode of writing. So they are trying mightily to equate Obama with Bush in any way they can. It doesn’t matter if one is a pragmatic who is trying to do the best he can, is being honest and open, while the other was a lunatic who got us into this mess in the first place.

So, they say that both of them treat the press corps the same!?!

Or that both use signing statements the same!?!

Or ignoring the people who predicted the economic calamity!?!

Dan Froomkin analyzes this journalistic pathology.

But now, believe it or not, the journos also want to equate the politization of science between the two parties! Can you imagine how tortuous those arguments must be! Read this!?! Wut? Harold Varmus and Karl Rove are on equal footing and have equal expertise in SCIENCE!!!! And are thus given equal reverence by the idiotic journalist?!? Oh my!

Also, watch The Intersection as Chris Mooney is keeping an eye at this curious phenomenon, e.g., here, here and here.

I think GOP still exists, despite the complete ridiciulousness of ALL of their ideas (racism, sexism, trickle-down-economics, “small government” crap, etc.) only because the press needs to always have that “other side” for every article, and to present both sides as equally worthy of not laughing at.

Comments

  1. #1 Toaster
    March 11, 2009

    “Those who suggest that the Bush administration did not rigorously apply science are themselves ignoring the facts,” said Karl Rove, the former president’s political strategist. (source)

    This completely belies reality. Altering IPCC reports, trying to codify human life as beginning at conception, injecting presumptuous religiosity into common medical ethics, etc, etc, etc, ad fucking nauseum!

    The GOP still has a base that values patriarchy, WASP-dominance, and wealth above the fortunes of their peers. They still exist because of places like my hometown in the South, where the locals firebombed the mosques after 9/11 and regularly defaced the homes and threatened the safety of interracial couples. I’d like to think that the barrel of oily crap that is the Republican platform has no appeal to anyone anymore, yet sadly it seems many still eagerly quaff it.

  2. #2 Mimi
    March 11, 2009

    I couldn’t have put it better myself, Toaster.

  3. #3 Christopher Mims
    March 11, 2009

    There are some subjects — e.g. climate change — where the application of false balance is consequential enough to constitute, in my view, professional malpractice.

    Alas, you can’t sue journalists for being wrong any more than you can sue the guy on the next bar stool for being an idiot — only for (knowingly) lying in order to damage the reputation of someone else.

    Anyway, I agree with you: false balance drives me up the wall.

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