Journalists: Fairness Is Overrated

 

Not that long ago, journalists would get offended if they were accused of presenting the news with a liberal bias. Now, they are publicly stating that “fairness is overrated.” A Los Angeles Times reporter recently wrote an op-ed in which she stated that the extreme views of Republicans mean that they are not a serious party and should not be taken seriously: “This is a Republican Party that is not serious about governing or addressing the nation’s actual problems, as opposed to faux ones like critical race theory … Democrats can’t be expected to deal with these guys like they’re on the level. Nor should journalists cover them as if they are.”

Journalists and others from all over the country chimed in with their hearty agreement. Bill Buzenberg wrote: “Great Op Ed — important message for every journalist. (NPR and PBS this includes you). Please don’t ‘balance’ the truth with an outright, calculated lie, and call it objective reporting or interviewing.” NBC anchorman Lester Holt said, “I think it’s become clear that fairness is overrated … The idea that we should always give two sides equal weight and merit does not reflect the world we find ourselves in.”

These aren’t whacked-out stoners in a California commune. These are mainstream journalists. And these journalists not only find their coverage to be insufficiently unfair to Republicans, they are openly stating that “fairness is overrated.” Our news media and our educational system are the most powerful force for leftist indoctrination in our country, in my view. It sounds like journalists agree with me. And it sounds like they’re happy about it.

I wonder why they tried to hide their beliefs for so long? And I wonder why they’ve stopped trying to hide them now? I find their newfound boldness to be concerning. They seem to think they are in complete control and no longer need to hide behind a veil of objectivity. I think they’re probably right.

I hope we’re both wrong.

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  1. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    All Journalists Are Statists™

    • #1
  2. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    “This is a Republican Party that is not serious about governing or addressing the nation’s actual problems, as opposed to faux ones like critical race theory … Democrats can’t be expected to deal with these guys like they’re on the level. Nor should journalists cover them as if they are.

    Skipping over the obvious question of how anyone this dumb landed a job at a major paper, the question then becomes why we would want anyone this dumb deciding what we should and should not see/hear in terms of coverage.

    The idea that we should always give two sides equal weight and merit does not reflect the world we find ourselves in.

    Note that Mr Holt is just fine with allowing the above-quoted reporter to decide which side gets “the weight” of coverage.

    • #2
  3. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    I wonder why they tried to hide their beliefs for so long?  And I wonder why they’ve stopped trying to hide them now?

    These are truly interesting questions.  One answer that occurs to me is that these types have finally realized that hardly anyone now buys into their fake claims of objectivity.  Numerous surveys have shown that to be true, and we’ve had a number of high profile examples of false, agenda-driven journalism.  So why bother anymore?  Let’s turn the issue around and try to justify the lack of objectivity.

    • #3
  4. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Dr. Bastiat: They seem to think they are in complete control, and no longer need to hide behind a veil of objectivity.  I think they’re probably right.

    The internet is allowing our voices to get through in spite of the efforts by Big Tech.  The only thing to really silence us would be if the government controlled every aspect of the internet, and only allowed access to those who aligned with its positions.

    That’s when we break out the pitchforks and torches . . .

    • #4
  5. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    If they are saying that they aren’t shooting for objectivity anymore, then what possible objection could they have to being referred to as propagandists from now on?

    Lester, if you are going to be doing my thinking for me, shouldn’t you be smarter?

    • #5
  6. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Stad (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat: They seem to think they are in complete control, and no longer need to hide behind a veil of objectivity. I think they’re probably right.

    The internet is allowing our voices to get through in spite of the efforts by Big Tech. The only thing to really silence us would be if the government controlled every aspect of the internet, and only allowed access to those who aligned with its positions.

    That’s when we break out the pitchforks and torches . . .

    And we certainly don’t want (allegedly) private sector corporations with an interest in who governs  deciding what is misinformation and therefore subject to censorship.  Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

    • #6
  7. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
     Let’s turn the issue around and try to justify the lack of objectivity.

    Are lying and a lack of objectivity the same thing?

    • #7
  8. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    One of the most life-informing experiences I’ve had was enduring the long divorce of my parents. So much raw emotion for the world to see. Emotion that once was private becomes public. Our country is looking more and more like a classic dysfunctional family. It might be more useful to study John Updike at this point than the historians. :-)

    What the reporters are saying in the quotes is so reminiscent of the early period of separation before the actual divorce goes through. (In the olden days of the sixties and seventies, divorces took a long time to actually occur because of the lawyers and the government.) There is a moment of intense jubilation the former married spouses experience when they can finally “let it all out”: “He always was a jerk. Now I don’t have to deal with him ever again. Yay!” “That woman is sick in the head. She is a total whacko. Good riddance!”

    Abraham Lincoln would recognize this. He was a small-town divorce lawyer for quite a while. :-)

    • #8
  9. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    Let’s turn the issue around and try to justify the lack of objectivity.

    Are lying and a lack of objectivity the same thing?

    I would say no.  The truly insidious part of biased coverage is often that the persons involved do not realize that they are deviating from truth because of their belief system.  I’m sure some lie and know they’re lying for ratings, but I think the majority are just blind.

    • #9
  10. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    Let’s turn the issue around and try to justify the lack of objectivity.

    Are lying and a lack of objectivity the same thing?

    I would say no. The truly insidious part of biased coverage is often that the person involved does not realize that they are deviating from truth because of their belief system. I’m sure some lie and know they’re lying for ratings, but I think the majority are just blind.

    I lean this way, too, also in my assessment of the general population being convinced of marxist ideals through communist propaganda, significantly delivered by these journalists of whom we speak. Most of those so led don’t realize the level of damage being done to their ability to lead their lives with their individual liberty intact. 

    • #10
  11. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    The answer here comes via my good friend, “Lefty Dave”, who says “The entire Republican Party has lost it’s [expletive] mind.”  Now, I push back on Lefty Dave all the time on this score.  He thinks that the Republican party has become the Cult of Donald Trump, that serves only it Soulless Master.  He’s wrong.  But if you believed that, and you were a journalist, wouldn’t you agree with the reporter above who says there’s no reason to give Republicans any fair play?

    Let me be clear here:  I am NOT saying this is the fault of Trump.  Nor Trump supporters.  The media is all too eager to find any reason whatsoever to consider the right, generally, as irrelevant. 

    • #11
  12. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Spin (View Comment):

    The answer here comes via my good friend, “Lefty Dave”, who says “The entire Republican Party has lost it’s [expletive] mind.” Now, I push back on Lefty Dave all the time on this score. He thinks that the Republican party has become the Cult of Donald Trump, that serves only it Soulless Master. He’s wrong. But if you believed that, and you were a journalist, wouldn’t you agree with the reporter above who says there’s no reason to give Republicans any fair play?

    Let me be clear here: I am NOT saying this is the fault of Trump. Nor Trump supporters. The media is all too eager to find any reason whatsoever to consider the right, generally, as irrelevant.

    This is old whine in new bottles from your friend, and Trump is just the latest vessel.  I’ve been having discussions with friends on the left for years and years over their assertions that the Republican Party has moved way right.  In their minds, Republicans are supposed to make a few “reasonable” points, while otherwise conceding all high ground to Democrats.

    Let’s not forget that, in recent memory, Paul Ryan was once touted as someone exemplifying the rightward move of the party.  It’s just a long-standing theme of lefties who yearn for the return of Nelson Rockefeller.

    • #12
  13. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):

    The answer here comes via my good friend, “Lefty Dave”, who says “The entire Republican Party has lost it’s [expletive] mind.” Now, I push back on Lefty Dave all the time on this score. He thinks that the Republican party has become the Cult of Donald Trump, that serves only it Soulless Master. He’s wrong. But if you believed that, and you were a journalist, wouldn’t you agree with the reporter above who says there’s no reason to give Republicans any fair play?

    Let me be clear here: I am NOT saying this is the fault of Trump. Nor Trump supporters. The media is all too eager to find any reason whatsoever to consider the right, generally, as irrelevant.

    This is old whine in new bottles from your friend, and Trump is just the latest vessel. I’ve been having discussions with friends on the left for years and years over their assertions that the Republican Party has moved way right. In their minds, Republicans are supposed to make a few “reasonable” points, while otherwise conceding all high ground to Democrats.

    Let’s not forget that, in recent memory, Paul Ryan was once touted as someone exemplifying the rightward move of the party. It’s just a long-standing theme of lefties who yearn for the return of Nelson Rockefeller.

    Completely agreed.  

    • #13
  14. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Potato Head: “of course people are allowed to cover whatever they want to cover”

    Amazing how self-unaware lefty “journalists” are.

    • #14
  15. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat: They seem to think they are in complete control, and no longer need to hide behind a veil of objectivity. I think they’re probably right.

    The internet is allowing our voices to get through in spite of the efforts by Big Tech. The only thing to really silence us would be if the government controlled every aspect of the internet, and only allowed access to those who aligned with its positions.

    That’s when we break out the pitchforks and torches . . .

    And we certainly don’t want (allegedly) private sector corporations with an interest in who governs deciding what is misinformation and therefore subject to censorship. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

    I think you’re a little tardy with your hope. :-)

    • #15
  16. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    Let’s turn the issue around and try to justify the lack of objectivity.

    Are lying and a lack of objectivity the same thing?

    I would say no. The truly insidious part of biased coverage is often that the persons involved do not realize that they are deviating from truth because of their belief system. I’m sure some lie and know they’re lying for ratings, but I think the majority are just blind.

    I think the most pernicious part may be what the MSM chooses not to cover. As used to be said about the NYT, if you didn’t read it (here), it didn’t happen.

    • #16
  17. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy) Thatcher
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy)
    @GumbyMark

    They are doing it now because they have built an entire closed ecosystem to support their “truth”.  Schools of journalism teach their “truth”, most major institutions support it, their readers and viewers demand it.  An entire progressive “fact-checking” infrastructure has been built in order to denounce non-conforming facts and opinions as false, which then allows the media (including tech-run social media) to ignore or suppress opposing viewpoints.  More recently, it has become sufficient to simply denounce dissenting views as racist without addressing the substance of the view.

    Here’s an example I’m familiar with from my work in the environmental area.  Around 2005-6, enviros were dissatisfied with their lack of progress in creating alarm over climate change.  To change that they launched a campaign to use Holocaust invoking language to label anyone who deviated from their version of climate truth as a “denier”.  It was designed to make it personally risky and costly to be on the other side (who wants to be associated with Nazis and anti-semites?) and gave the press a simple hook and ready-made excuse to ignore anyone who dissented in any way from the catastrophic warming scenario.

    I witnessed this transformation as it encompassed everyone from those who denounced climate change as a hoax to those that agreed that human activity was contributing to warming but did not think it significant, or easily manageable and had specific critiques about aspects of what we were being told was the science.

    Climate change was reduced, as has everything else by 2021, to a two viewpoint issue – the progressive viewpoint and the lying viewpoint – rather than having multiple viewpoints and allowing for some nuance and subtle distinctions among viewpoints.

    What the media people quoted in the post are engaged in is ideological warfare, not journalism.

    • #17
  18. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    Let’s turn the issue around and try to justify the lack of objectivity.

    Are lying and a lack of objectivity the same thing?

    If all the errors in a given signal are in one direction, engineers call that a bias.

    • #18
  19. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    A century ago news outlets did not claim “fairness” as an objective. But because we actually valued free speech and a free press, there were news outlets with many different points of view. 

    That said, if a “journalist” is so one sided that the “journalist” believes someone who disagrees with the views of the “journalist” is not serious, it is the “journalist who has not thought seriously about the issue. 

    I learned fairly early in my legal career that if I could not formulate a decent argument in favor of my legal opponent’s position, I probably did not understand my own position as well as I should. At the law firm at which I started my career I was often pulled into mock arguments to play the role of the opposing party. The purpose and effect was for the attorneys conducting the litigation on behalf of our client to identify potential weaknesses in their own case, and to be prepared to answer objections or counter-arguments made by the opposing party.

    When I got into corporate practice I found that the better I tried to understand the “opposing” party’s position (generally in a contract negotiation), the more quickly we could find a mutually satisfactory conclusion. My colleagues and I would often test each other’s understanding of the situation by arguing the point of view of the other or opposing party.

    “Journalists” who say the Republican Party is not serious about governance do not understand what they are writing or talking about, and do not deserve to be listened to. 

    • #19
  20. ToryWarWriter Thatcher
    ToryWarWriter
    @ToryWarWriter

    Remember a lot of this is because all the snow flakes have been graduating and getting jobs in the media.  The old reporters are being replaced.  So its less why didnt they show us this before now?  Because the cultural marxists werent in charge yet.

    • #20
  21. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

    Remember a lot of this is because all the snow flakes have been graduating and getting jobs in the media. The old reporters are being replaced. So its less why didnt they show us this before now? Because the cultural marxists werent in charge yet.

    I think this is spot on

    • #21
  22. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    It is a move either of boldness or of desperation. I’m not sure which.

    Ms. Calmes, the Los Angeles Times shill who made the comment about unserious Republicans, gave Critical Race Theory as her example of the kind of silly thing Republicans prattle on about. I assume people on the left know how unpopular Critical Race Theory is with the public, and are aware of the growing body of cis-female domestic terrorists concerned mothers who are protesting at school board meetings and expressing their outrage over the (pause to breathe… 3… 2… 1…) unfortunate stuff that is being taught to our children in the public schools.

    Perhaps she is tired of hearing the public complain about this, and imagines that providing less news coverage for Republicans will somehow cause all of those concerned parents to just stop caring and shut up.

    So I’m going to do my optimistic thing and favor the desperation interpretation, while noting that of course I could be mistaken. But the reality is that, for all their bludgeoning of the culture in recent years, the left is not very popular right now, and the left’s party is facing what increasingly looks like a very bad election one year from now. Unless, of course, little issues like the border and the economy and the supply chain and the outrage over Critical Race Theory and dramatically escalated urban violence and inflation and our increasingly senile bully of a President* and his deplorable Vice President* start getting resolved in a positive way in the next few months.

    More likely, I think, is that the list of challenges will grow, rather than shrink, and people will become even more disenchanted with President Brandon* and his inchoate agenda of destruction. Perhaps Ms. Calmes and her corrupt left-press cronies are worried about that.

    • #22
  23. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Fairness is supposed to be about getting right what people are actually saying, believing and doing so that viewers/readers/listeners have an accurate understanding.  Covering the KKK fairly means letting others know who they are and what they stand for.  A journalist owes even the KKK the courtesy of not embellishing their positions and actions and relying on viewers/readers/listeners to understand who and what they are. You don’t need to cherry-pick or invent facts to make a Grand Kleagle look bad–or pathetic.

    Journalism should entail enough humility (I don’t have all the answers which is why I need to ask questions and check the facts) to permit room for diversity of perspectives, genuine curiosity, and have one’s opinions continuously tempered by respect for viewers/readers/listeners as well as the people about whom you report.

    Modern journalism appears to be based on the conceit that the journalist already has it right by virtue of an enlightened Twitter feed, does not need any other perspective, and that most viewers/readers/listeners are vile morons anyway.  Ironically, the more one strikes the pose of the highly enlightened journalist the more likely the finished product will be a shallow, lazy, inferior product fit for dummies–and receive favorable retweets.

    • #23
  24. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    As a plug for one of the few journo podcasts I find continuously enlightening, consider checking out Friday’s episode of The Matt Walsh Show where, as his first topic, Matt covers the media distortions and resultant kerfuffle over Texas’ “CRT law.”  It’s an excellent example of what we’re speaking about here.

    • #24
  25. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Modern journalism appears to be based on the conceit that the journalist already has it right by virtue of an enlightened Twitter feed, does not need any other perspective, and that most viewers/readers/listeners are vile morons anyway

    But, wait! All that you say here is replicated in other fields: modern health care, modern public education, modern banking and finance, and more on the way. Patients, students and their parents, depositors and borrowers, are vile morons anyway. And I’m certain that list is just a start. How about that?

    • #25
  26. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy) Thatcher
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Democracy)
    @GumbyMark

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    As a plug for one of the few journo podcasts I find continuously enlightening, consider checking out Friday’s episode of The Matt Walsh Show where, as his first topic, Matt covers the media distortions and resultant kerfuffle over Texas’ “CRT law.” It’s an excellent example of what we’re speaking about here.

    Along those lines there was a clearly coordinated effort by the media to refer to President Trump’s fall 2020 order on CRT training as “banning diversity training” when the order actually banned racial stereotyping and scapegoating while specifically stating that training on the benefits of diversity and multiculturalism was permitted.  

    • #26
  27. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    Let’s turn the issue around and try to justify the lack of objectivity.

    Are lying and a lack of objectivity the same thing?

    I would say no. The truly insidious part of biased coverage is often that the persons involved do not realize that they are deviating from truth because of their belief system. I’m sure some lie and know they’re lying for ratings, but I think the majority are just blind.

    I think the most pernicious part may be what the MSM chooses not to cover. As used to be said about the NYT, if you didn’t read it (here), it didn’t happen.

    When the Washington Times (financed in part by Sun Myung Moon) came into existence in 1982, I opined that it was too small to make a difference.  My wise father told me that the real value of a conservative paper in town is that it forces the Washington Post to cover things they would rather bury and ignore. 

    • #27
  28. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    Skipping over the obvious question of how anyone this dumb landed a job at a major paper, the question then becomes why we would want anyone this dumb deciding what we should and should not see/hear in terms of coverage.

    Dumb but articulate people are like radios that one pick up only one station.  They have no clue how much they are missing so can speak with confidence and even passion about the little they know and this make great cable TV speakers.  The possibility of being wrong, the fact that people have a wide range of opinions and experiences, and the difficulty of identifying truly insightful authors and thinkers is all just too hard and does not guarantee good ratings anyway.

     

    • #28
  29. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Modern journalism appears to be based on the conceit that the journalist already has it right by virtue of an enlightened Twitter feed, does not need any other perspective, and that most viewers/readers/listeners are vile morons anyway

    But, wait! All that you say here is replicated in other fields: modern health care, modern public education, modern banking and finance, and more on the way. Patients, students and their parents, depositors and borrowers, are vile Morins anyway. And I’m certain that list is just a start. How about that?

    A narcissism pandemic is unlikely to be confined to one category of activity.

    • #29
  30. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Dr. Bastiat: I wonder why they tried to hide their beliefs for so long? And I wonder why they’ve stopped trying to hide them now?

    In 1969 the Supreme Court upheld the Constitutionality of the Fairness Doctrine based on the argument of scarcity of spectrum. When the Doctrine went away the attitude did not. Broadcasters took great pride in being broadcasters, as opposed to those cable guys with their bias screamfests.

    The internet and the fractionalization of the media has put an end to that. Everyone is liberated to pursue their own narrow constituencies. 

    • #30