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Tue Oct 19, 2021, 01:26 PM

Why journalists are failing the public with 'both-siderism' in political coverage

Why journalists are failing the public with ‘both-siderism’ in political coverage
https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2021-10-15/republicans-democrats-both-siderism-political-failures?

American politics has changed dramatically since my post-Watergate generation of journalists began covering the story. Political journalism hasn’t kept up.

For years it was easy to cover “both sides” — Republicans and Democrats — as equally worthy, and blameworthy, partners in democracy. While we reporters had come of age as witnesses to the unprecedented resignation of a Republican president who’d tried to corrupt the institutions of government to affect an election — imagine! — what remained was a Republican Party still capable of a creditable role in a healthy two-party system. After all, Richard M. Nixon was forced to resign when congressional leaders of his party began abandoning him. Again, imagine that, Kevin McCarthy.

Now, when reporters or pundits use the words “both sides” in regard to some political problem, I stop reading or listening.

I started to chafe at false equivalence a quarter-century ago, as a congressional reporter amid Newt Gingrich’s Republican revolution. One party — his — was demonstrably more responsible for the nasty divisiveness, government gridlock and norm-busting, yet journalistic pressure to produce seemingly “balanced” stories — pressure both ingrained and imposed by editors — prevented reporters from sufficiently reflecting the new truth.

By 2012, as President Obama dealt with the willful obstructionists, conspiracists and racists of an increasingly radicalized Republican Party, political scientists and long-respected Washington watchers Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein put the onus for the dysfunction squarely on the GOP in their provocative book “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks.” Significantly, they implicated journalists: “A balanced treatment of an unbalanced phenomenon is a distortion of reality and a disservice to your consumers.”

snip//

Democrats can’t be expected to deal with these guys like they’re on the level. Nor should journalists cover them as if they are.

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Reply Why journalists are failing the public with 'both-siderism' in political coverage (Original post)
dajoki Oct 2021 OP
SharonClark Oct 2021 #1
unblock Oct 2021 #2
Ponietz Oct 2021 #3
UTUSN Oct 2021 #4

Response to dajoki (Original post)

Tue Oct 19, 2021, 01:44 PM

1. That and the shallowness or superficiality of most reporting.

They're only interested in the horserace and don't report on the actual details of bills.

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Response to dajoki (Original post)

Tue Oct 19, 2021, 02:18 PM

2. So many fails in today's media. I could write a whole book but I guess they beat me to it.

Another fail is that the only facts they care about are quotes, particularly from republicans.

The sun doesn't rise in the north, but if a Republican said it did, they'd run a whole story about how someone *said* the sun rises in the north. That he *said* it is a fact. That what he said is a lie, the media couldn't care less about.

This is the media's excuse for washing their hands of republicans lies and exaggerations and smears. Hey, we're just quoting important people!

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Response to unblock (Reply #2)

Tue Oct 19, 2021, 03:12 PM

3. George Orwell beat us all to it

Big Brother’s message dominates. Astounding that so many people have either never read 1984 or, having read it, can’t bridge the neurons to recognize it around them everywhere.

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Response to dajoki (Original post)

Tue Oct 19, 2021, 04:26 PM

4. K&R

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