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The desire to be "fair and balanced" is a noble goal, and should be the basic tool used in the dissemination of information in order to educate, inform, and provide knowledge to the American public.  The problem lies in the fact that the phrase "fair and balanced" is incorrectly defined and applied as "make both sides look just as good."  The fallacy in that definition is that both sides are NEVER equally good, correct, honest, factual, and right.  To give an extreme example, if the sides of an issue were being fought by Adolf Hitler on one side and Mother Teresa on the other, would it be "fair and balanced" to make these two individuals look equally good and right?

In my opinion, the word ‘fair’ in the phrase "fair and balanced" should NOT be applied to the opponents on both sides of the issue, but rather to those who are being informed by the dissemination of information.  The AUDIENCE for the mainstream and mass media outlets are the ones we should be treating fairly.  The ONLY way to do that is to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  Facts, facts, and more facts.  If one side of an issue is being deceitful, making untrue claims, and making misleading statements, reporting on the fight over that issue should point out the falsehoods and present the truth.  Being "balanced" simply means that you cover both sides equally, NOT that you support both sides equally.  The end game should always be to inform the people honestly and factually.

What ever happened to journalistic integrity?  All news outlets of all sizes and types have a duty to inform, but ALSO to debunk.  Why do the major news networks shy away from calling a lie a lie?  When Sarah Palin talks about death panels in health care reform, why do we have to turn to MSNBC to hear the truth?  The death panel claims are simply not true, and this is very easily determined.  Why do we not hear ABC, NBC, and CBS headlining the fact that there are no death panels and never were?  It is a particularity warped idea that doing so would somehow be unfair or unbalanced.  It is not the job of the media to even the scales and make both political parties seem equal when it comes to honesty and facts.  It is the job of news media to research the issues and present the facts AND debunk the lies.

This is the today’s great failing of the mass media.  Fox News and MSNBC are on opposite sides of the fence, but that does not mean that they are equally biased and slanted.  Fox News is nothing but an outlet for lies, hate speech, race-baiting, and opposition to the left, right or wrong.  MSNBC spends a lot of its time debunking the lies of Faux News.  If MSNBC has the facts correct and Faux News is lying, why is that not being reported in the mainstream media?  Because these two cable news outlets are battling each other, the mainstream media acts as if they are both equally extreme and dishonest.  That is simply not the case.

So again, being "balanced" means treating both sides that same.  That treatment should be comprised of verifying the truthful statements and debunking the lies – for BOTH sides.  If that means that one side gets clobbered because they are telling lies and the other side gets validated because they are telling the truth, that is STILL being balanced and treating both sides equally.  Covering up the lies of one side to make them seem as honest as the other is unequal treatment – unfair to the truth-telling side, and doing something "extra" for the other side.

The people want the truth, they deserve the truth, and a successful economy and country requires the truth!

Originally posted to dadepfan on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 11:38 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  We report, you decide (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What a load of malarkey! As if the viewer is in some privileged position to ascertain truth.

    The point of the exercise, of course, is to render all facts mutable, subject to personal validation. You hear these people call up hate radio:

    "Um, yeah, I'm calling to say that I don't believe in the global warming thing..."

    Nobody ever explained to the goombah that it doesn't matter whether he believes in it or not. His "belief" isn't operative, isn't a factor, it's totally meaningless. He might as well say, "I have personally chosen to remain ignorant."

    In many things, there are not "two sides." There is the truth and there is fact.

    Every day's another chance to stick it to The Man. - dls.

    by The Raven on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 11:50:45 AM PDT

    •  We distort- you deride (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Raven

      is more like it.

    •  Not sure what you mean. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Raven

      I could not make sense of your comment.  My point is that those organizations that disseminate information to the public, especially "news" organizations, when reporting on political issues that impact the lives of American citizens, should only be concerned with facts and truth, NOT with making the Right and the Left look equally honest and truthful.  In other words, call a liar a liar no matter what side he or she is on.  The goal should be to inform, debunk, and reduce confusion.

      Do you disagree with that?


  •  News outlets have no "DUTY to debunk." (0+ / 0-)

    Stop watching television.

    Medical Marijuana is Healthcare. does YOUR bill cover it?

    by ben masel on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 11:57:53 AM PDT

    •  You don't think so?? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If they are not reporting facts and truth (which would include debunking lies), then they should have to remove the word "News" from their title and replace it with "Opinion" or "Commentary."

      Information is power, and false information is a tool of those with bad intentions.  Freedom of speech does NOT include publicly saying something false that injures others.  That is why we have slander and libel laws, and why you cannot shout "fire" in a crowded theater.

      Telling and repeating lies about important government legislation, such as health care reform, injures the American public - possibly more than getting trampled in a crowded theater.


      •  So much for the First Amendment (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ben masel, datasky

        It's all good and well to have your own views on the accuracy, or lack thereof, of any given participant or media outlet addressing a public policy topic.

        But to suggest that there is going to be one "TRUTH," identified by government, and those that dare to dissent from the government-approved TRUTH can be punished, is about as Orwellian a concept as I can imagine, and has no place in a country that enjoys First Amendment protection.

        And if you're really interested in going down this path, rest assured that the other side has identified all sorts of "lies" that they believe YOU and those that agree with you are telling. Now imagine that those folks have the power to decide what TRUTH is allowed to be broadcast...

        Sean Parnell
        Center for Competitive Politics

        •  Do you have a googlebot following my posts? (0+ / 0-)

          Just kidding.

          Medical Marijuana is Healthcare. does YOUR bill cover it?

          by ben masel on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 02:11:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I don't agree (0+ / 0-)

          I am not suggesting that we control opinion and commentary when the facts are in question, but when someone says the Obama health care plan contains plans for death panels, THAT is an easily verified lie, and should be addressed and reported as such.  When Glenn Beck says that the President is a racist, responsible news organizations should report that there is no basis in fact for this statement.  When a whole movement claims that Obama was not born a US citizen, his birth certificate and proof in Hawaii newspapers at the time are readily available and have already been certified and verified, responsible news organizations should tell the public that.

          Instead, pointing out the deceit, misleading statements, and outright lies of the Right is something fearful for mainstream media because they are afraid of looking biased.  Instead, by NOT reporting the truth and NOT debunking the lies, these supposed news organizations are indeed being biased.

          There are indeed some "truths" and plenty of verifyable facts.  


          •  Facts are ALWAYS in question (0+ / 0-)

            At least, what relevance and how to "connect the dots" regarding those facts.

            The items you suggest are "easily verified lies" are in fact opinions, analysis, and beliefs - of dubious quality, perhaps, but nothing the government should be weighing in on in the manner you suggest.

            Obama a racist? Obviously an opinion.

            Death Panels? Hyperbolic excess to be sure, but IF one believes that part of the Obama health plan (or whatever passes for one with 5 bills out there) involves having a government body that will determine in the aggregate what medical services can be performed or paid for and IF one is concerned that it will operate in a manner similar to the British NICE - well, you may not AGREE with that analysis, but can you understand that some might think it possible?

            As for the birthers - well, in case you hadn't noticed it's almost impossible to disprove a conspiracy theory, and the most effective debunkings tend to be regarded as yet MORE evidence that the conspiracy is even bigger than previously thought.

            The simple fact that someone holds a different opinion than you on important issues or regarding certain individuals is NOT worth trashing the First Amendment by setting up some sort of "Truth Commission" that will determine what people are allowed to say. That is NOT how a free society operates.

            Sean Parnell
            Center for Competitive Politics

    •  Faux Noise long ago won the right to lie (0+ / 0-)

      and still call it news:

      link 1

      link 2

  •  Faux News - Just another Hollywood studio (0+ / 0-)

    pumping (pimping?) out product in accordance to what it perceives the market demands.  There's really nothing more to analyze about them.

    "I'd HR you for misspelling Bundt cake - but I doubt you'd see the humor in it" - wiscmass

    by mydailydrunk on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 12:05:14 PM PDT

  •  It's a sad state of affairs when the public has (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sabredance, Eloise

    to listen to smart comics like Jon Stewart, Colbert and Bill Maher to get intelligent and unsanitized news analysis. We are all buried in "news" 24/7, but it's useless without thoughtful analysis. If it's on Fox, it's a lie; if it's on broadcast news, it's shallow and incomplete; if it's on CNN, I don't know what the hell it is. IMHO only PBS, BBC, NPR and certain MSNBC (especially Rachel) can be trusted to have reliable analysis with their regular broadcasts. They don't pretend to know more than they actually do, and their interview subjects and panels of "experts" are normally knowledgeable people who actually know more about their subject than the audience does.
    (It just occurred to me that PBS, NPR and BBC all operate non-profit. Food for thought...)  

    •  I agree 100% (0+ / 0-)

      So, the question becomes how do we fix the situation.  It may be impossible, but I have postulated the following radical scenario:

      Flush Limp-Bough and Glenn Beck both broadcast a complete lie that angers their listeners so much that one or more of them are pushed over the edge and turn to violence against a Senator or Obama.  They commit an assassination.

      Under what interpretation of the law are these hate-speech broadcasters NOT guilty of negligent homicide??


  •  Oh the emails I get!!!. . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sabredance, AguyinMI

    . . .from my rightwing friends. Chocked full of lies daily. And obviously forwarded material. Where does this shit come from? Obviously a rhetorrical question becaue I have figured it out a long time ago: these emails are generated by the RNC or else "clever" lobbying firms to push issues, etc.

    I fact check them all and send a reply with the link. often I suggest they forward the info to the entire list. Often, I also lecture about the importance of making decisions based upon TRUTH. Sometimes, if the issue is important enough, I forward to the entire list but I have found that is a good way to piss off friends. I also sometimes send them this quote. . .

    "A lie will circle the globe three times before the TRUTH can get its shoes tied."

    •  Good for you, but why (0+ / 0-)

      do you care about pissing them off? Sounds like a great way to unclutter your inbox from that shit.

    •  Boy! Do I Hear You! (0+ / 0-)

      During the 2000 election, which was my first time actually paying attention, I was so obsessed by the insane falsehoods being told, and even more so by the media NOT correcting the lies, that I spent literally hundreds of hours online researching all the claims and issues of that election in Florida.  This included reading ALL of the Florida election statues.  In the case of the 2000 election,  at least, the Democrats were 100% correct and by the book, while the Republicans were 100% BS, BS, and BS!  That is why I called the 2000 election The Great American Coup.

      I also spent hundreds of hours online fighting in the trenches of the old CBS Eye On Politics discussion boards.  I NEVER lost an argument on the facts or the logic, but I also NEVER changed any Right-Winger mind.  But I sure did frustrate them and piss them off!  I was called every name in the book and insulted in hundreds of ways, and even my family was insulted!

      Check out these posts:

      •  I don't suppose. . . (0+ / 0-)

        . . .you have read the book, "Votescam"? It was written BEFORE the 2000 debacle and detailed all the trouble with voting machines and predicted a very close 200 election right down to the battleground state of Florida! That book really changed my perspective, previously being an Independant and rock solid in the middle of the spectrum. Today, I have moved much farther left and identify with Democrats though I still have issue calling myself the name of the party of "free spenders". Of course, now I know that even that is a lie.

        I do think this administration is spending too much money: I wish they would reign that in and govern from the center as Clinton did.

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