Journos Explain Why ‘Fairness Is Overrated’
Leftmedia talkingheads contend that neutrality in news reporting is a threat to democracy.
As the old adage states, there are two sides to every story. Yet according to Leftmedia talkingheads, such thinking is antiquated and indeed represents an existential threat to democracy. Over the past few years, “journalists” working for some of the nation’s most noted legacy media outlets, like The New York Times and The Washington Post, as well as cable news and mainstream TV network news, have not only questioned that old bedrock journalistic principle of impartial/objective reporting but have increasingly argued against it.
Back in 2016, in the lead-up to Donald Trump’s surprising election victory, the New York Times’s Jim Rutenberg wrote the now infamous article titled “Trump Is Testing the Norms of Objectivity in Journalism.” In the think piece, Rutenberg declared Trump to be a demagogue who was “potentially dangerous” before rhetorically asking if “normal [journalistic] standards apply.” He immediately followed that question with an arguably even more disconcerting question: “And if they don’t, what should take their place?” At least Rutenberg was being logically coherent in recognizing that if one standard is removed, it will leave a vacuum something else must fill.
However, in raising the question in the first place, Rutenberg tacitly admitted that he never really believed in the normal journalistic standard. And if he never really believed in it, did he ever really adhere to it?
For many conservatives who have long observed and bemoaned the blatant bias within the MSM — we started this humble little operation in 1996 for that very reason — the answer is an obvious “No.” What Rutenberg did was simply say the quiet part out loud, ironically acknowledging the charge of media bias as true despite years of MSM talkingheads blasting the notion of media bias as some right-wing conspiracy theory.
In the years since Rutenberg let the mask slip, it has been effectively removed entirely. Last year, NBC News anchor Lester Holt declared that “fairness is overrated,” and his explanation clarified what he meant — that the old journalistic standard of neutrality in reporting was no good. “The idea that we should always give two sides equal weight and merit does not reflect the world we find ourselves in,” Holt opined. “That the sun sets in the west is a fact. Any contrary view does not deserve our time and attention.” He then argued that journalists should deny “platforms for misinformation” and not let just “anyone to come say whatever they want.”
How does seeking to be unbiased in one’s reporting equate to the spreading of misinformation? A journalist who doesn’t seek to get the full story but instead only gives attention to the “right” sources is not a journalist. Rather, such reporters are engaged in propaganda, pushing narrative as news, all because they supposedly know better. Holt’s explanation was downright insulting to any good journalist worth his salt, which was why it was controversial.
And yet, rather than correcting themselves and recommitting to best journalistic practices, many of these MSM talkingheads have only doubled down in rejecting the age-old standard. Recently, MSNBC host Joy Reid repeated her oft-voiced refrain that Republicans are endangering democracy, and she argued that the MSM was being too neutral in its coverage of the two political parties. She suggested that journalists need to “tell voters” that Republicans are a “threat to freedom.”
CNN’s Don Lemon also shot down the idea of equal time and equal coverage of the two political parties, stating: “We cannot have a false sense of equivalency about what is happening when it comes to politics in our country. There is one party, right now, that is not operating in fact, that has been misleading the American people, and that is the Republican Party, sadly, which I used to be a member of … years ago.” Last December, fellow CNN host Brian Stelter pushed the same talking point when he highlighted an article in the Los Angeles Times by columnist Jackie Calmes in which she eschewed “both-siderism.” Stelter asked: “Is it that we’re treating Democrats and Republicans equally and ignoring GOP radicalism? Is that the heart of the problem?”
The truth is that leftist journalists are finally “coming out” against doing, well, journalism. They are one-sided propagandists trying to convince the American public that doing “good journalism” means taking a side. They are pushing for the acceptance of a narrative as well as the silencing of any contrary information and perspectives. Even more profoundly, they are indirectly attacking the First Amendment by asserting that the Framers got it wrong when they sought to ensure the right to freedom of the press was protected.
Limiting people to hearing only one side of the story leads to greater ignorance and bigotry, the exact opposite of how a healthy democratic republic functions. Indeed, it’s how democracies die in darkness.
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