‘Fair and balanced’

Fox and other news organizations remind us daily they do “fair and balanced” reporting.  They tout it as the epitome of journalism.  While “fair and balanced” may sound good, it is a deplorable quality of news reporting.  It detracts from what was once the lofty goal of journalism — the search for truth.

Take a preposterous argument.  Political party “A” says Earth is round.  Party “B” says it is flat.  Party “A” displays photos of Earth from outer space, showing a blue cloud-laced planet and, above all, a round one.  Party “B” says the NASA photos are not of earth but have been cooked up by Photoshop as a liberal conspiracy.

The “fair and balanced” media will give both sides equal time.  In the end, there is no conclusion.  And the question remains:  Round or flat?  The reader or viewer is now confused and left to discern the truth on his own based on the only arguments presented.

What would a search for truth reveal?  It would reveal Party “A” is closest to the truth since Earth is ovate.  It would find Party “B” is decidely wrong and is obscuring reality for political purposes.

But too bad.  The media these days are so timid.  They fear offending segments of society and therefore losing advertising revenue.  This is particularly true with newspapers who are trying to survive the digital revolution.  They lose daily to less reliable Internet news organizations.  And cable news hungers for more viewers so they can keep raising advertising rates.

CNN is particularly bad.  Its anchors ask all the right questions but come up in the end with nothing close to truth.  Life is a mystery to CNN.

Fox on the other hand is totally lost in its right-wing bilge of lies and distortions.  And it has the gall to even call itself “fair and balanced.”  At least CNN is that.  The New York Times and a few other national papers like the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times can with some veracity say they “search for truth.”

Truth is a hard commodity to come by these days when Americans binge on receiving a large part of their news from social media.  One can only hope the “selfie generation” dies a quick death and a more truth-demanding group of Americans come to the fore.

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