What Does "Fair and Balanced" Journalism Mean?

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How can the Corporation for Public Broadcasting even pretend to be concerned about "fair and balanced" journalism, when two of the principal executives of the Corporation are high-level political operatives, hired on from the Republican Party or the Bush Administration?

What does "fair and balanced" mean, when applied to journalism, anyway? Does it mean balancing the truth with a lie? Q: What do you get when you balance the truth with a lie? A: You get a partial truth or a partial lie. Is that what good journalism is about?

Does "fair and balanced" journalism mean balancing between the right and the far right of the political spectrum? That appears to be the concept in place at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. When the far right complains about "liberal bias", they are actually complaining that moderates of either party are heard and not pure, 100% extremist ultra right wing propaganda. Let us not forget that "moderates" of both parties are located far more to the right than in period of history. We have Nancy Pelosi with a 100% voting record in support of the Iraq War, despite a home constituency that was 63% against the war in the last San Francisco election. Pelosi is considered a "liberal" by Robert Novak and Karl Rove, but she is about as much a liberal on issues of war and peace in today’s political environment as Barry Goldwater was four decades ago.

Fair and balanced? Fair to who? Fair to liars who do not want to be exposed? Fair to the proponents of the Weapons of Mass Destruction argument? Fair to the fabricators of the deceptions used by Colin Powell in his speech to the United Nations?

What form of journalism would be fair and balanced for the cause of peace? What form of journalism would be fair and balanced for the sake of Iraqi freedom? What form of journalism would be fair and balanced for the sake of justice for the Palestinians? What form of journalism would be fair and balanced for the benefit of the American taxpayer and his future under a heavy burden of wealth transfer to the wealthy elite?

Clearly, fair and balanced journalism, CPB-style, is only fair and balanced if you are unfair and off-balance in favor of the military/corporate/government complex. Ken Tomlinson is about as fair and balanced as Senator Joe McCarthy was.

If you want to learn what "fair and balanced" journalism means, look to a real practitioner, such as Bill Moyers. Bill Moyers is despised by the right because of his fair and balanced approach.

Fair and balanced does not mean balancing truth with lies. It does not imply that the truth is at the center between two extreme points on the political spectrum. Fair and balanced journalism must not be a fulcrum on which to destroy democracy by leveraging away farther and farther from the truth. The public interest is not served by lies and deceit, and lust for power is often predicated on lies and deceit. Fair and balanced journalism exposes lies and deceit and enhances democracy; is an absolute prerequisite for democracy.

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