Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ari Melber: "Media Blows Debt Crisis Coverage With Balance Bias"

Ari Melber (The Nation):
Balance Bias (bal-ance bi-as)
1. The assumption that there is truth and legitimacy to both sides of every dispute.
2. The iron law in political journalism that one side in a debate can never be exclusively right, or have a monopoly on the facts.

This increasingly disorderly fight over raising the debt ceiling has not only exposed the petty dysfunctions of the US Congress, it has also revealed a core failure of American political journalism. The press has made the debt fight the top story for the last two weeks [1]—even accounting for half of all stories on radio and cable news—but much of the coverage has failed to tell the very basics of what is happening.

I don’t mean how this deficit was created (by tax cuts, Medicare and recessions [2]), or why the debt ceiling gets raised (in response to past decisions by Congress). That stuff matters, but at bottom, this is a story about politics, not the bond market.

This fight started with a partisan threat to sabotoge the economy in order to extract policy concessions, but then, when Democrats offered most of the concessions, it ricocheted and morphed into something else: a high-stakes lightning round of intramural GOP posturing. MORE...

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