False Equivalences Are KILLING US

How did American Journalism get this story so fucking wrong?

The Russians compromised not only a Major Party’s presidential nominee, they compromised the political party itself.  And their espionage operation continues UNCHECKED to this fucking day.

And yet – American Journalism STILL get it wrong and still are stumbling all over themselves trying to both catch up with Trump-Russia and avoid being mis-directed again by another set of shiny keys tossed into the bushes.

Take today, for example — Veteran sawdust head reporter ANDREA MITCHELL wondered aloud on her daily hour of cluelessness if the Democrats releasing THEIR version of the Nunes Memo was a waste of time.  That is, she wondered aloud if insisting that THE TRUTH BE TOLD vs A BALD-FACED LIE was ‘worth it’.

Think about that.  How the fuck does a supposedly informed and experienced reporter make a judgment where a lie should be the last word and The Truth shrugged off as ‘useless’?  How does the Truth become expendable?

How do lies gain actual value that allows them to compete with (and at time supersede) The Truth?

Hard to say when exactly this phenomen began but once it became entrenched, it settled in and took shape as ‘FALSE EQUIVALENCE’:  The Mistaken quasi-journalistic practice of assuming & presenting two sides to each issue as if they started off exactly equal in terms of actual value, practicality and public acceptance.

That is almost NEVER the case.  Take CLIMATE CHANGE… As Climate Change became a story the American News Media understood, they did what they had BEEN doing for years already: assumed that any ‘Yes, Man-Made Climate Change Is Real’ argument had to be balanced by a ‘No, Man-Made Climate Change Is Bogus’ argument — even if one didn’t exist (because it wasn’t a valid argument).

But there the two sides were — presented on Television — by News Shows — with a screen split right down the middle — as if these two arguments were indeed as fifty-fifty in their Core Truths as the fifty-fifty visual presentation was SUGGESTING they were.  Science and Bullshit were visually equated as being of equal rightness.  In point of fact though they aren’t, of course.

The cry of ‘Everyone does it’ is another False Equivalence.  Yes, in the abstract, people, being people, tend to behave in certain predictable ways.  But — as with Trump-Russia for example, we aren’t talking about the abstract, we’re talking about the Very Real.  Two sides have not committed Treason here.  Two sides have not LIED about it repeatedly.  Two sides have not run away from the Truth and every attempt to report it.

Only ONE SIDE has done that.  And storytelling logic says quite clearly:  That MEANS something.  People who lie consistently always do so with purpose.

A final element that contributes to this problem:  Too many journalists fail to distinguish between feelings and facts.  They confuse feelings they report with facts — as if the feelings suddenly WERE facts.  Except they’re not.

Your feeling about a person is not the same as facts about them.  In fact, your feelings could be contradicted by the facts.  And your feelings could change — now that you KNOW the facts.  But the facts won’t change.  Cos facts don’t.  New facts can become relevant, superseding the old — but the facts themselves NEVER CHANGE.

I think the time has come to haul out a sign that gets flashed at every reporter, talking head, sycophant, wanna-be, news analyst or loyalist whenever they say something of dubious merit or truthfulness:  “BACK IT UP OR IT’S BULLSHIT”.

A boy can dream, can’t he?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.