Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Sunday, March 20, 2005

How Important Is Journalistic Balance?

I do not subscribe to the notion that there are absolutely true facts. I do subscribe to the idea that we accept as true those things that receive wide confirmation by others.

One result is that despite the efforts of a few people, I believe the holocaust occurred. In fact, I believe that fact with such strong priors that I doubt the sanity and/or credibility of anyone who questions it. Further, my priors are so strong, I see no reason for balanced reporting about the issue anytime the holocaust is mentioned.

So why is C-span any different? Why do they think an interview with an author of a newly published book about the holocaust must somehow be balanced by an interview with a holocaust denier? This is not like a debate on social security reform; it is not even like a debate on the virtues of Salk vs. Sabin polio vaccines, as one of the commenters to the above link pointed out.

Among other examples cited in the above link is this:
In 2002, a British journalist reporting on the rampant incitement to violence in Palestinian media was instructed by his London editor to 'find similar examples of incitement in Israeli media, to give your article balance.' When the correspondent responded that there was no such incitement in Israeli media, the editor killed the story.
Clearly, the desire for balance is not always present. It is usually sought when editors fear reprisals or when they have their own political agendas.
Thanks to BenS for the link.
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