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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Thu. 05/18/06 05:33:25 PM
   
         
         
   

The Fair And Balanced By Definition Mentality

I was inspired by an entry at GetReligion to post the following comment there:

This is a rare window into mainstream media’s point of view. I think their intellectual arrogance comes partly from assuming that their viewpoint is correct because... well... because it’s their viewpoint.
But I think something else is at work, too, something more subtle and, therefore, harder to detect: they identify (equate, synonymize) their point of view with being fair and balanced. To put it the other way, they believe their point of view is, by definition, the fair and balanced point of view.
Thus, whenever an article has effectively expressed their viewpoint, it is by definition fair and balanced. Thus, any request to present some other point of view is, by definition, a request to present an “extremist” viewpoint. Thus, when they do present another point of view, one that doesn’t accord with theirs, though it might add to the depth or breadth of the article, it doesn’t really add to its fairness or balance; indeed, it might knock the fairness and balance out of whack. And, like, why can’t everybody see that?
Thus, too, their genuine shock and outrage when they are accused of not being fair and balanced: according to how they think, they are fair and balanced by definition and, therefore, can hardly be anything else. I can almost hear them saying, “Just ask anybody in the business, they’ll tell you: we’re fair and balanced. They agree with me about that. And about everything else, too. Except the conservatives and Christers they let onto the staff for some stupid reason.”
Of course, everybody tends to think he’s right. I think the problem in mainstream media comes more from the Fair And Balanced By Definition mentality, though, than from a My Position Is The Correct Position mentality.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Thu. 05/18/06 05:33:25 PM
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