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Stop Whining About 'False Balance'


Stop Whining About 'False Balance'

Matt Taibbi

News media outlets are increasingly coming under fire for the sin of "false balance" or "false equivalency." The New York Times, one of the outlets most often accused of this offense, recently defined the term:

"The practice of journalists who, in their zeal to be fair, present each side of a debate as equally credible, even when the factual evidence is stacked heavily on one side."


I am in full agreement.
The majority of the American public is stone cold stupid.
That is the fault of our educational system which has also been dumbed down.


Not sure where to begin with Taibi's analysis except that he has never read, or seriously need to dust-off and re-read, "Manufacturing Consent - The Political Economy of the Mass Media by Herman and Chomsky.

Blaming the US public for the state of the US media is ridiculous, he is reversing cause and effect in a very egregious manner.

The use of the Clinton Foundation for influence buying was certainly newsworthy, but outside of Democracy Now, I'm not seeing any news on Trumps own more substantial corruption - labor law violations, workplace safety violations, housing discrimination on Trump rental property, ties to US gangsters, ties to foreign gangsters. So, yes, maybe they are trying to maintain a "false balance".


Which is worse bringing up the corruption of the next president, Hillary, or hammering a lunatic loser who will go back to his day job as a circus clown on November 9?


OH wake up! Trumps trangressions have been reported nearly every day, but the dim American media consumer, as Taibbi says, doesn't care. Why? Because way too many Americans have become ideological dopes who don't know what's going on, and really don't care.
I see Trump signs in clients yards and I ask them why. Their only retort? "He's honest!" How can you possibly argue with someone who is that goddamn stupid?


It is likely that Trump will win the election. Come here to the rust belt and see for yourself.


To add my two-cents worth, it must be acknowledged that the format in which the "news" is presented (part of the false equivalency technology), that of having multiple people talking over each other creates an almost impossible system for conveying information. That is surely by design, to some degree. The more one watches, the less one knows. (One reason I haven't watched TV in many, many years.) This background music of the babble of the "experts" disenfranchises the thinking class disproportionately, again by design, I imagine. Jefferson, who sought to have an educated citizenry is surely rolling over in his grave.


These big speaking fees are either bribery or payback, are they not? 500K for a 1 hour speech? How can it be anything but.


I echo your sentiments on the rust belt. As you may well know, here in the Pittsburgh area you can see Trump signs throughout the white suburbs. But in all fairness those are often the same Yuppy-yunzer neighborhoods filled with people who voted for Tom Corbet and W, so it's no surprise that they would once again walk into the voting booths of western Pa and rub shit all over themselves while voting for Trump.
Burgher's, just like their brethren from other rust belt towns like Buffalo, Clevelend, Cincinnati ect, can always be counted on to vote against their own best interests. Pittsburghers in particular are an interesting breed though. So many of them can't wait to tell you what a wonderful place it is, and that yunzers are the greatest people to ever trod on gods green earth, despite the fact that most are unapologetic racists who have never driven west of Wheeling or south of Morgantown.
A local comedien once said that Pittsburghers weren't hillbillys, but they wanted to be. Every time I tune in to WDVE and all you hear is Skynard, the Allman brothers, or AC/DC I think he hit the nail on the head.


There certainly are people who are stupid but the idea that they are driving the corporate push to eviserate content is simply untenable. Unfortunately, Matt sounds like a very frustrated journalist who has gone past his tipping point and has flipped out. Lashing out at the public, who is in many ways the helpless party here, is foolish and unworthy of Mr Taibbi's talents that have shone under less stressful circumstances.


Agree with what you are saying, but is not the Clinton world-wide corruption empire a lot bigger than Trump's small-game, local stuff?


All I can tell you is that, forty years ago, Tiabbi would have been a household name. Now, if you mention his name in a public forum, you will get blank stares.
That's how far we have fallen.


The Media was bought up by Billionaires who threw out Journalists and requested Viewers to submit their observations and videos. The Public has to Know what they don't know so that they can ask questions. Only when they can ask questions will they want answers. Journalists are supposed to answer those questions, after introducing the questions . Only after various media were relieved of their obligation to Inform the Public, did the programming dumb down. I would argue that the Owners of the Media are deliberately producing the audience that they want.


I agree. I've seen better work from Taibbi. Blaming the viewers for the sorry condition of the MSM just doesn't cut it. Yes, they are grabbing news on the fly and don't have time to research or fact check but that is the condition that has been created for workers and not by the viewers themselves. It seems by design that the news is lacking in facts and has become opinion only.


Scratching my head here. No mention of the, uh, "coverage" of Bernie Sanders campaign. Did us idiots demand that when we were filling stadiums and parks with tens of thousands of fired up supporters and Hillary was having trouble filling up high school gyms? When Bernie probably won the primaries but had them stolen? Did we demand that the MSM not mention that?

Also, no mention of the falling off of consumption of mass media in favor of its alternative. F'rinstance, The Young Turks is competitive with MSNBC no? And what about the hatred of the entire American establishment for RT? You know who broadcasts on RT? Thom Hartmann, Chris Hedges, Larry King, Ed Schultz, Lee Camp. Then there's the popularity of Democracy Now!, CounterPunch and the list goes on. The other day, Bernie was questioned on Meet The Press (!!!) about comments by a guy named Mike Figueredo who webcasts a show called The Humanist Report. Why in the hell was MTP or Bernie for that matter the least bit interested in the comments of a supposed obscure alt? Maybe, Matt, you should consider this before dumping on the public as asshole media consumers.


If this were a typical election between a liberal Democrat and conservative Republican there would be much more attention on the usual policy differences which generally involve government spending and taxes. But Trump is basically running as a white supremacist. How could the media not give him more attention. This is startling even after a year and half of watching him. What is also startling is the degree of racism in the US as many people ask how can anyone vote for someone like Trump. He has revealed a whole other country out there that refuses to accept multiculturism which they feel has been opposed on them by the liberal establishment. But if you look at demographic trends in the US maybe it isn't all that perplexing. Rather recently, white Protestants for the first time were not the majority in the US and their power was reduced. A little later white Christians were no longer the majority and they also suffered diminished power as a group. It is expected in about three decades white people will no longer be a majority in the US and it that occurs whites no doubt will lose some power. The Trump campaign seems to be largely a movement of whites to take back the country, or as Trump puts it, make America great again. Most worrisome is that that many of his supporters are part of the Alt-Right which believes that whites are genetically superior with regard to IQ and their stated goal is to establish an all white country. When Trump hired Steve Bannon from Breitbart he closely connected his campaign to the Alt-Right.


False balance, false equivalence. These are fancy schmancy terms for - Lying. Why should we shut up about it? Whether by omission or commission, false equivalence or other psywar techniques, the media lies. We should be shouting it to the skies, not gulping and keeping quiet. Sorry Matt, you're wrong on this one.


There was no need to mention it. The primary election was not stolen. The media should not be criticized for that. The view that the election was stolen is either based on lies or paranoia, or both. The media did not fall for that bogus claim. It mainly seem to be appear among the nonsense that saturates social media.


Just curious when you think the last such "typical" election occurred.

When was the last time there was a "liberal Democrat" on the ticket?


It is not "either / or" but "both / and."