Saturday, January 15, 2011

Yes, the U.S. Media is Just This Bad

One of my big complaints about American media outlets nowadays is that most journalism, in a misguided attempt to be "balanced," doesn't go beyond reporting that "one person said X, and this other person said Y - now you decide!" They insist on doing this incessantly, even if X or Y is little better than a bold-faced lie.

As an illustration, I point to this report on CNN about the exposure of a study linking vaccines and autism as a total fraud. However, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that establishing the link between vaccines and autism was a complete and utter lie, CNN still couldn't bring itself to say "this study is bunk; there's absolutely no evidence that vaccines are linked to autism." In stead, it's the same old, "the medical journal says it's a lie; the original author disagrees - so who knows?"

The Huffington Post's coverage is even worse.

Sigh - just another example of the terrible state of what passes for journalism in this country. It's no surprise that the American people are profoundly misinformed about almost every important issue facing the U.S. today. Democracy requires an informed electorate - if the U.S. electorate is so misinformed, how can democracy continue to survive and thrive in this country?

Edit after the original draft of the post: Paul Krugman has a similar lament over measuring the cost of repealing health care reform. Title of the day from The New York Times: "In Battle Over Health Law, Math Cuts Both Ways." Funny, I didn't realize that relatively simple arithmetic and algebra could cut multiple ways.

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