There are two sides to every story (at least), but often one of those sides is flat out stupid, if not immoral. Yet journalistic convention, in part, helps contribute to the tide of eliminationist rhetoric. That’s a point I touched on yesterday, but RMuse fleshes it out much more:
…the main stream media is silent in reporting the connection between the shooter and comments’ suggesting violence is an acceptable means of facilitating change in government. What the media is reporting are the offensive responses from Republican legislators that both sides need to dial back the violent rhetoric responsible for inciting the attack in Arizona. It is unthinkable to place blame on both sides for the violent rhetoric when it is certainly only those on the right who are responsible for suggesting violence is acceptable….
The main stream media at this point is as much at fault as the provocateurs of vitriol on the right by their silence and cooperation with Republicans in deflecting blame to all sides of the political spectrum. It is nice and politically correct to say that “everyone needs to calm down and stop the violent rhetoric” if each side was responsible, but they are not. Every bit of malfeasance has been on the right whether it is using gun metaphors or disrupting town hall meetings during the health care debate; to pretend otherwise is insulting and despicable.
Of course Republicans are going to say that everyone needs to stop the hateful and violent rhetoric because they are ill-equipped to take responsibility for anything they or their supporters do. However, the media has a responsibility to report the news accurately regardless of consequences to a political party. Even though Americans are not intelligent enough to draw conclusions without some pundit telling them what to think, they at least should have the opportunity to hear the truth. The sin of omission by the media is as wrong as outright lying and just as dangerous.
Someone else has also noticed the odd mainstream news media model of providing misinformation:
Republicans telling all sides to ratchet back the violent rhetoric implies the left is as guilty as the right when they are aware that it is only their side who has talked about “taking out” Democrats in Congress. The main stream media is also aware that the vitriol originates primarily from conservatives, but their inclination is to protect Republicans at all costs. The losers are the American people who do not follow politics closely and possibly have no idea that Palin and her cohorts encourage violence to change the government. The media is once again doing a disservice and not fulfilling their duty of disseminating information so the public can make informed decisions.
While I don’t think this is politically intented, mainstream media thrives on a binary opposition model*. It’s how they think they make money. It doesn’t matter if one side is absolutely idiotic (or worse). Yet this system breaks down once one major political party becomes utterly unhinged or shameless in its fearmongering (Got Death Panels?).
But you won’t see this mentioned in the mainstream media: it’s bad for business.
*I don’t think the ‘Crossfire’ format actually is the desired format by most media consumers. But producers of media think it is, and, given that most people can’t build their own TV channel, we are unfortunately stuck with it.