Wednesday, September 17, 2008

More Idiotic Fairness and Balance: Inaccurate = Negative?

I decided to watch Fox News tonight to see how the election was being covered there. I knew I'd be in for a lot of crap, but I didn't realize it would happen almost immediately. Here's Carl Cameron:

"...there have been about 25 John McCain falsehoods and about 15 Obama falsehoods...Now when you talk about their actual advertisements, it gets a little bit more complicated...77% of Obama's ads have been deemed negative, whereas the numbers are only 56% for John McCain. So you're right, they're trading blows and depending on whose numbers you look at, one's worse than the other."

There is your fair-and-balanced moral relativism on display: lying is the same as being critical. No doubt some of that negativity from Obama was noting that John McCain is a boldfaced liar. That's rich, McCain lies, Obama calls him on it, and the Idiot Scoreboard at Fox News is even. Alert Fox News, and all the rest of you with convenient moral relativity (ie when your guy is the guilty one), there is nothing wrong with being negative if you are accurate, and the subject is relevant. This is, after all, a political campaign. Pointing out one's opponent's flaws is part of the game. It's only when you claim he has flaws he doesn't, or reveal flaws that are irrelevant to being president, that you deserve scorn.

Note also that the Fox figures were completely binary: it's either a lie or it isn't. There is no way to account for severity and audacity of the falsehood. Especially relevant is whether the falsehood was an honest mistake since corrected, or whether it fully qualifies as a lie. When a falsehood is uttered, corrections are made, and the falsehood continues to be stated, it's no longer an honest mistake. It's a lie. The way their stats work, Obama misstating that more black men were in jail than in college once, and then ceasing after his error was pointed out, counts the same as Palin lying over and over again that she said "thanks but no thanks" to the bridge to nowhere.

Fair and balanced? Hardly. It couldn't have been more tilted to the Republicans, once, ahem, the facts are considered relevant. Let's see a tally of falsehoods stated more than twice and see how McCain/Palin do.

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