What’s the best way to counter the MSM’s cowardly false equivalency on every issue? (image credit: ltsaloon.org)
With the ungodly amount of misinformation spread by the mass media, who lazily treat every story as if both sides are always equally responsible and both sides always have worthy arguments to make, what is the best way to counteract it? We have a society today in which strong opinions are discouraged even if they are demonstrably, provably right, and the other side completely and obviously wrong. The “sensible” approach is now always the fallacy of the middle ground, as it upsets no one and creates no criticism. Because of this, it also halts all constructive conversation and accomplishes nothing. It is an attitude that treats ignorance as just as worthy of attention as knowledge, and lies just as newsworthy as truth. I see this tendency most often among people who don’t know anything about politics but enjoy feeling as if they have the moral high ground. But it is an attitude that is also prevalent among people who would otherwise identify as being on the left and are simply averse to conflict.
The media has become so allergic to any intimations of “liberal bias” that reporters fall over themselves to provide a right-wing point of view on every issue, regardless of how insane or contradictory their views are. Ask yourself how it is possible that the mainstream media presented the debt ceiling crisis as an issue of too much partisanship on both sides, and yet John Boehner was able to say that he got 98% of what he wanted from the deal. Ask yourself why every time there was a Tea Party rally during the healthcare debate, no matter how small, it got national media coverage. Ask yourself when the hate and vitriol of people like Glenn Beck on Fox became “the same” as the message of tolerance (except for the intolerant) of people like Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. Ask yourself what it means that despite thirty years of hard evidence that shows trickle-down economics has only resulted in a shrinking middle class and more wealth to the already wealthy, that Republicans are still able to say tax cuts vastly tilted in favor of the wealthy are good for the economy without being questioned. Ask yourself why despite overwhelming evidence that global warming exists and comes from human CO2 emissions, to the point where 97-98% of climate scientists agree, there is always another guest invited to spout the same tired disproven lies and ad hominem attacks against it. And ask yourself why every time President Obama gives a public statement, equal media coverage and time is spent reporting on whomever the Republicans put forward to counter his message. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t remember this level of attention paid to Democratic responses under Bush (except for after the State of the Union.)
I’m not saying no one questions these things. I’m saying that reporters rarely do. It is always presented as if there are two sides to the debate, when there is so much evidence in favor of one side and so little in favor of the other. When the media frames the argument as if both sides are equally credible, crazy ideas with no basis in reality suddenly become acceptable, or even mainstream. After writing and researching for this blog for almost two years and being an active listener and learner for much longer, it is shocking how many facts are taken out of context or falsehoods repeated without so much as a caveat, even in otherwise reputable news sources such as NPR (to say nothing of CNN, or Fox.)
The media no longer recognizes that it is not a sin to intervene on the side of truth, even in politics. Either that, or they actively want to misinform. What can we do about it, with so much money behind the misinformation machine, and the false moral high ground given to those who are willing to ignore facts to be agreeable?
Edit: The answer is not violence. If people on the left engage in violence the backlash will be enormous. Violence gives the perfect rationale for a crackdown. It would accomplish exactly the opposite of what the violent thug intends.