Tuesday, September 06, 2011

'Balanced reporting'

Something bizarre is going on. It was likely triggered by faux news outlets like Fox in the USA. In a nutshell these rightwing news outlets claimed to have come into existence in response to the biased reporting (aka 'liberal bias') of the mainstream media that existed at the time. Those mainstream media have essentially responded by moving significantly further to the political right in order to demonstrate how balanced they are.

A few weeks ago I bumped into a hardcore zionist Jewish guy who went on and on and on how biased the BBC is in favor of Palestinian views. He wanted more 'balance'. There we go again, 'balance'. I'm not going to bore you with my views on this dreadful conflict. I am interested in the idea that 'balance' for news reporting purposes means inviting 'the two sides', whoever they are, and trying to locate oneself in the middle somewhere.

This is such a bizarre proposition. What this means is basically that if you want a debate to move into your direction, you need to be as close to lunatic fringe at your political end as can be, simply because by virtue of doing that the 'balance without concern for content' brigade would automatically shift the centre of the debate closer to your end. On the other hand, having sensible middle-of-the-road views would mean that you're already giving up too much political ground to the other side, so you lose before you even get started.

A good example of this lunacy in terms of reporting is CNN. These days, reasonably sensible people from the Washington Post are usually 'balanced' with the lunatic fringe represented by 'reporters' from the Washington Times. The Washington Times was deliberately created by the rightwing Moonie Unification Church to ride on the confusion in many people's minds about the difference between the Washington Post (the real deal) and the Washington Times (the joke). The cover photo I am displaying here shows what I mean, look at how keen the paper is to have Obama and bin Laden in its headline. That CNN today routinely invites agitprop staff (aka 'journalists') from the Washington Times shows you how far the 'balance' lunacy has got out of control. CNN is actually misleading us into thinking that the Washington Times is a legitimate news outlet to begin with.

How about focusing on substance instead of trying to get the most radical views at either end of the political spectrum (or any other matter) to demonstrate 'balance'?


  1. Sounds really interesting about the balance , But what about this year balance ?

  2. @udo , Great balance , Thans for sharing


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Certainty is not a defensible standard for policy making in the context of assisted dying

I mentioned in a Bioethics editorial a while ago that new frontiers are opening in the assisted dying debate. As an increasing number of...