Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Matthew Yglesias » Beyond “Bias”

Dialectic lives in the blogosphere.

Below Matthew Yglesias and Kevin Drum discuss the perils and shortfalls of "objective" journalism:

Matthew Yglesias » Beyond “Bias”: "I don’t, for example, think I ever saw a television network or mass-media publication provide a cogent explanation of the differences between Barack Obama’s climate change proposal and John McCain’s climate change proposal even though the proposals contained some important differences. I have no idea whether this was attributable to “bias” or even how I would know. Nor am I sure which candidate would benefit from exploring this question. I am, however, sure that I’ve several times seen their plans described as being the same on the grounds that they’re both “cap and trade” plans. That’s false. Does the habit of saying it reflect bias? And bias toward whom? Who knows and who cares? What matters is the information — accurate information about important topics should be conveyed in a clear manner."

Kevin Drum - Mother Jones Blog: Cap and Fade: "The biggest difference between the two cap-and-trade plans, of course, is that Obama seems to actually believe in his proposal whereas McCain pretty plainly doesn't. For him, it's just window dressing that would almost certainly have been forgotten as soon as he got in office.

But how do you get that across? I'm pretty sure I'm right about this, but I certainly can't prove it. And any straight news reporters who took my line would (rightfully) be accused of massive bias."

Matthew Yglesias » Beyond “Bias”: "Simply put, it’s not possible for working journalists to purge themselves of bias, nor is it possible for readers or critics to adduce definitive proof of bias. Making spurious claims of bias in order to try to get journalists to pursue the impossible task of eliminating their mental biases is impossibility squared. It’s an intellectually bankrupt dead-end."

Yes, it is Matthew. "Just the facts" is not a real option. The facts, as the joke has it, have a well-known liberal bias. And, the campaign against the "liberal bias" in the Media is part of an effort to make of the corporate Media, a reliable right-wing propaganda operation -- a largely successful operation, by the way.

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