Friday, July 23, 2010

Death To False Equivalencies!

Some mainstread media folks seem hell bent on not holding Andrew Breitbart and FoxNews to account for smearing Shirley Sherrod.  Their lame ass excuse seems to be "well both sides do it". Greg Sargent writing at WaPo is not going for it.

Lauer tells us that there's "biased media" on both sides. But while Breitbart may indeed be "biased," that fact has nothing whatsoever to do with what Breitbart did, which is actively mislead his audience. You can be biased without actively misleading.

The conventions of media neutrality apparently require us to keep saying that "both sides do it." But let's drill down on what "it" really is. If by "it" we mean making editorial decisions -- what story to cover, what quotes to seek, who to interview, etc -- that are to some degree rooted in one's political preferences and beliefs, then yes, both sides do it.

But if by "it" we mean purveying information to readers or viewers that's designed only to achieve a political objective, with no effort whatsoever to ascertain its accuracy, true significance, or context, then the answer is: No, both sides don't do it.

Do some left wing commentators say crazy things? Sure. But high-profile commentators on the left, for instance at networks like MSNBC, inarguably hold themselves to a higher factual standard than Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly. (Yes, they apologized to Sherrod. So what?)

The problem people on the left have with FoxNews and or Breitbart and their allies has never been that they are partisan. The problem is that they LIE to push their partisan aims. While purporting to report the news, they instead act as a propaganda organ regurgitating every talking point, repeating every false attack and when all else fails manufacturing controversy out of whole cloth. But if nobody in the mainstream media has the balls to call them out for it they will continue to get away with it much as they did for most of the Bush administration, much as have since President Obama got into office.

When will people like Matt Lauer have the courage to say what a blind man can see?

I wouldn't hold my breath.

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