Balance and Democracy

Josh at Talking Points Memo found a great example of what’s gone wrong with our country’s news media. Reporting on the unfolding Republican corruption scandal, Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza included a list of Republicans caught with their hands in the cookie jar. After he submitted the story an editor added a Democrat who had resigned from Congress to the list, even though the Democrat’s transgression occurred before the timeline of the story, and even occurred before the Democrat had run for office in the first place. (And, of course, Republicans who committed crimes during the older timeline were not included.) The explanation was that this was done “for balance.”
The result of this “balance” was that any possibility of the public being alerted to a corrupt organization polluting our politics was removed. Instead the public again hears the right-wing conventional wisdom that “they all do it.” Which, by the way, translates to “don’t to even vote.”
Earlier today I wrote that an informed public is the necessary foundation for a functioning democracy. (You’re going to be hearing a lot about democracy and commuity from me.) The editor that changed the story should be fired for crimes against democracy.

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