The Media’s Moderate Bias

James Poniewozik hits on one of my biggest pet peeves – moderate bias in media coverage. This idea that journalists are unbiased and have a responsibility to present all points of view is terribly flawed. The rise of public relations flaks and rampant doublespeak killed that long ago.

As anyone following health reform knows, centrism is a political
position too. And you see moderate bias — i.e., a preference for
— whenever a news outlet assumes that the truth must be
“somewhere in the middle.” You see it whenever an organization decides
that “balance” requires equal weight for an opposing position, however
specious: “Some, however, believe global warming is a myth.” (Moderate
bias would also require me to find a countervailing liberal position
and pretend that it is equivalent to global-warming denial. Sorry.

When I started Keystone Politics, and again when we launched CitizeNYC, we don’t look to show each side of the story equally. We have a clear editorial view that, while it doesn’t come through in all of our editorial choices, isn’t something we shy away from. We’re looking for the truth, and that usually means one side looks worse than the other.

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