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Hullabaloo


Sunday, September 11, 2016

 
Is the NYT Public Editor Wrong or Completely Wrong? Views Differ 

by tristero

A textbook example of a straw man:
The problem with false balance doctrine is that it masquerades as rational thinking. What the critics really want is for journalists to apply their own moral and ideological judgments to the candidates. 
Nope. What we "really want" is for media not to report those arguments that are factually inaccurate as equivalent to arguments that are factually accurate. In addition, people objecting to the practice of false equivalence point out that merely reporting an unsubstantiated idea or a lie can provide status that it doesn't deserve, making the idea appear equivalent to legitimate ideas.

We often see this in reporting on evolution and climate change, where, in the name of balanced coverage, sheer nonsense is given "equal balance" with actual science. And we see it in the reporting of Trump's egregious lies as somehow equivalent to standard political spinning.

As Digby wrote me in a private email, Liz Spayd "simply doesn't understand how their coverage creates narrative." In practice, what Spayd advocates is a policy that will publish whatever nonsense a politician or businessman spouts regardless of its truth value,  provided they come from a large-enough political party or corporation.

And that is the problem.