I had a chance to read New York Times public editor Liz Spayd's much discussed column on "false balance." I've seen many 'false balance' critics attacking it and countless national news reporters embracing it. Spayd locks in on some real shortcomings of this media critique. But they are largely clumsy versions of the argument which allow Spayd to ignore the actual criticism. And she concludes with what amounts to a generalized, all good, Times reporters!, please don't be "intimidated" by these arguments.
The reality is that the contemporary journalistic concept of 'balance' is inevitably in tension with accuracy. How to resolve that tension is a point of debate. To essentially deny the tension, as Spayd does, shows you're just not engaging the question.Read More →