Please share your stories of political activism here. (More)
This week I wrote a scalding letter to the New York Times in response to public editor Liz Spayd’s defense of their hypercritical coverage of Hillary Clinton, and her rejection of charges of false equivalence:
The problem with false balance doctrine is that it masquerades as rational thinking. What the critics really want is for journalists to apply their own moral and ideological judgments to the candidates. Take one example. Suppose journalists deem Clinton’s use of private email servers a minor offense compared with Trump inciting Russia to influence an American election by hacking into computers – remember that? Is the next step for a paternalistic media to barely cover Clinton’s email so that the public isn’t confused about what’s more important? Should her email saga be covered at all? It’s a slippery slope.
This column is essentially an abdication of ethical responsibility. It says that arranging a seat at a State Department dinner or making an appointment with a Nobel Prize-winning activist – while offering no policy favor to either – must be reported exactly the same as sending $25,000 to a state attorney general who then quashes a fraud investigation for you …
… because it’s a “slippery slope” to expect reporters to consider facts borne out by evidence – rather than “appearances” and “optics” and “shadows” – and exercise professional judgment.
No wonder the Times is at the bottom of the heap in this year’s election coverage.
More on this in today’s Mixed Nuts.
Credit: Adobe Stock Images. Standard License.