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Accuracy vs. Balance

11.03.09

Columnist Dan Froomkin:

Journalists should strive for accuracy, and fairness. Objectivity is impossible, and is too often confused with balance. And the problem with balance is that we are not living in a balanced time. For instance, is it patently obvious that at this point in our history, the leading luminaries on one side of the American political spectrum are considerably less tethered to reality than those on the other side. Madly trying to split the difference, as so many of my mainstream-media colleagues feel impelled to do, does a disservice to the concept of the truth.

Sure, there are always – at least – two sides to a story.  But one of those sides could very well be completely, utterly false.  Does that side deserve equal time as the side that is based on reality?  Of course not.

The goal of journalism is to be fair and provide an accurate account of what happened.  This current obsession and complete overcompensation for balance skews every single issue into being a matter of opinion.  The problem is, everyone has an opinion, but not everyone is right.  There are facts and then there are beliefs.  And, lately our society has put way too much importance on beliefs and it has caused our mainstream media to completely ignore the difference between the two, airing two sides of an issue regardless of whether or not they have any facts to back up their opinion.

Without those facts, an opinion is simply hot air, not news.

(link courtesy of The Daily Dish)

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