Thursday, March 25, 2004

'the media are downright Buddhist in their abhorrence of imbalance'

Objectivity: Fair, balanced, and not necessarily healthy for truth.

This article from The Gadflyer explains the difficulty people are having in understanding exactly what weight to give the 9-11 Commission investigations.

The problem, author Sean Aday explains, "is that journalists often cling to the abstract notion of balance at the expense of truth, and can go fetal when confronted with unabashed deception by government officials. . . .

"The press needs to realize that objectivity does not mean manufacturing ambiguity where there is none. Sometimes lies are lies, and sometimes one side is more to blame than the other. At the end of the day, nothing is more important in journalism than getting the story right."

Why IS it so hard for us to want truth, or accept that sometimes the fair thing isn't balanced - that sometimes someone is wrong? I know that's part of the liberal upbringing (or indoctrination, depending on your level of cynicism), mine anyway, to always need to see the other side. But it's equally important to remember that understanding doesn't necessarily mean acceptance (a point I make frequently, especially on foreign affairs stuff).

Understanding is key - but we don't need to massage administrations' egos, nor ease the minds of fretful Americans uncomfortable with the notion that liars lead us and we've let them for too long.

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