Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Balanced = Fiction

Reporting on an anti-gay, Christian [sic] fundamentalist "conversion" conference, massmarrier brings attention to the critical issue of the often misunderstood job of journalists:

...The Seattle Times' let's-make-nice version... looks like a rookie reporter trying to be balanced and afraid to call a schmuck a schmuck.

Besen is by far the better writer and the intellectual of the two. He notes that LWO conferences are desperate affairs. As he put it:

"...Nicolosi claims that a distant father is responsible for creating a gay son. There is absolutely no evidence to back up this theory. Sure, some fathers may create distance when their sons express more interest in ice skating than ice hockey. But it ignores the incontrovertible fact that countless gay children are close to both parents, while many heterosexuals have estranged paternal relationships.

At Love Won Out, one will also hear that homosexuality is learned, but no evidence of this is offered."

Journalists and the media serve the public well when they communicate organized facts in their reporting. Simply to portray everything as two sides that disagree, dutifully quoting each side, with no reference back to the thing called "reality" is simply a form of fiction based on things actually heard. Novelists write conversations; journalists need to tell us about real things.

I'll leave you with a (slightly) parodied report from the corporate-owned evening news:

Controversy entangled Washington today following President Bush's news conference in which he declared, "We must remember that two plus two always equals seven."

Democrats quickly fired back that they believe that the number is probably closer to four.

Aides to the President responded that these attacks were purely political and the President would have no further discussions, and simply base the national budget on the correct sum, seven.

Oh, how the "balanced" media enlighten us.


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