Equivalence Is False

 Posted by at 12:37 am  Politics
Oct 112013

If you’ve seen me say this once, you’ve probably seen me say dozens of times that there is no equivalence between the parties.  It’s bad enough to hear uninformed people jumping on the equivalence bandwagon that Republicans are pushing to deflect from themselves the blame that they so richly deserve.  However, it’s ludicrous to hear this from reporters whose job it is to report the facts.

11politifact-lie-of-the-year-false-equivalence“Reality,” Stephen Colbert once said, “has a well-known liberal bias.” He was joking–or “joking”–but he identified a serious problem for political reporters in a polarized era. What do you do when the actual reality of a news story is not evenly balanced between two sides? What do you do when the facts of a situation are such that to describe them accurately will make you sound biased?

This month’s fiscal crisis is one such situation. One party (in fact, essentially one wing of the Republican party), seeking the elimination or delay of Obamacare, precipitated a government shutdown and threatened to force a default on U.S. debt. Period. There was no corresponding threat or demand on the Democratic or White House side; having gotten the Affordable Care Act into law three years ago, they are not in the situation of saying, “Pass Obamacare or we shut ‘er down.”

That’s the situation. To accurately describe it, as news coverage should, is not to endorse an ideology. It’s not to say that Obamacare is good or bad. It’s not to say that Republicans do or don’t have good reasons to oppose it. It’s not to say that Democrats have or haven’t sought political benefit in the aftermath. But it correctly places the impetus where it belongs… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Time Magazine>

Click through for the rest of this excellent article.  I am not the only one who was impressed.  Lawrence O’Donnell interviewed the author.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The shutdown story is about the Republican Party. It is ONLY about the Republican Party. The notion that Democrats have anything to do with this crisis, other that standing firm and resisting it, as they should, is absurd!  The Democrats didn’t shut down the government. When Republicans did, Democrats had already compromised to give Republicans the priorities they wanted. Even Cantor said so.  Then Republicans moved the goal posts, as usual.  The shutdown is built on animus to the President, and is yet another attempt to destroy the Obama Presidency. Media’s job is to report these proven facts. For the most part, they are failing miserably.


  22 Responses to “Equivalence Is False”

  1. It is quite a joke that the GOP have taken their dirty money to create news for many yrs.  But to make Obama look like he and he alone is the cause of taking this country down has finally being seen as one of the biggest lies in history.  The GOP will pay for it .  They will not be a party of power as much as they will be seen as a lesson (that power and money is not as powerful as the people when they work together).

    Obama will go down in history as one of best Presidents in history.  Obamacare will be the start of healthcare for all and the GOP will be dust

    Poll: 60 percent say fire every member of Congress


    • Mama, the idea of firing every member of Congress actuallyt furthers the false equivalence lie.  Earl Blumenauer is my Representative.  He's a dedicated progressive, who never even sips InsaniTEA.  I damn well want to keep kim, and all America is better off, if he stays.

      • Same with my representative, Peter DeFazio.

      • Tom I in no way believe that only side of anything is the way to go.  I believe as President Obama believes that in order solve problems we must all have a seat at the table.

        But if one side thinks it has all answers,thinks they can continue to make Obama bent over and give them what they want or they will take America with them.  It is not working together it just plain childish and racist.  So vote them all out and vote people who will take seat at the table and work things out.

        We need all sides   President Obama will not cave to them.  He did want he had to last time.  But if the brats want to contiune acting jeaks knowing the American people have voted and it was for Obama.  I say they need to go

        • For the ones to whom that applies, 99% of the Republicans and a few DINOs, I agree.  Progressives in Comgress have been more than willing to negotiate.  The problem is that Republicans demand the ONLY seats at the table.

  2. They will be the cause of their own downfall.

  3. How I hope and pray that people will see the truth and see that the Far Right have caused this crisis and such pain to so many millions of people!


  4. I watch Lawrence O’Donnell every night. As always, great piece with Author and Journalist Carl Bernstein who spoke of "a person"

    "This is about the Whack Jobss in our party… 🙂

  5. "Seeming fair becomes more important than being fair. …

    Reality doesn’t always have a bias, … But when it does, it’s not journalism’s job to rebalance reality."

    Reporting events (reality) should be fair and unbiased, but too often it is not.  It is not up to journalists to reframe anything because that means it is giving a distorted view of events and then journalists appear to be ideologues and perhaps even complicit in the imbalance.

    Some might cite the recent situation of Chuck Todd, NBC News Political Director and White House correspondent, saying that it is not journalism's job to correct the Republicanus/Teabagger's Obamacare falsehoods.  But I, like many others, disagree with that.  In my opinion, by not reporting the facts, by aqllowing the falsehoods to stand, Todd is taking the position of an ideologue.  There is a difference between reporting fact and bringing an opinion to bear which is what happened in this case in my opinion.  And damn, doesn't it seem that Lawrence agrees with me. (I wrote this before watching Lawrence)

    In the Lawrence O'Donnel interview, Carl Bernstein said that  reporting should  be "…the best obtainable version of the truth . . . a fact based, contextual, repretorial enterprise …"

    He went on to say that the current shutdown and debt default situation is "…ideology over national interest … this is the most egregious case of  it  that we've seen … and it is built on animus to the President…"  Then he went on to reference the Republicanus/Teabagger's plan hatched on the evening of  2009 and the President's inauguration — obstruct all of Mr Obama's policies.  Of course, the past almost 5 years have shown that that is exactly what is happening.  It is pure ideology over national interest .

    As Bernstein said, reporting should be  "…the best obtainable version of the truth…" . . . something that is not happening.  And Faux Noise is a prime example.  There is a reason TC calls Faux Noise the Republican Reich Ministry of Propaganda.

    • I try to do what Bernstein says, even though I consider myself a wonk and a commentator, not a reporter.  I'm honest anout my own bias, and when the facts disagree with what I want them to be, I stick with them, regardless of bias.

  6. "Ideology over the national interest"  says it all.  We don't have enough Bernsteins anymore.  We have corporate employees who say what the corporation who owns the paper, tv station, or radio station, intend for them to say.   The Free Press is basically the Bought press.

    The Republicans have been too bold with their threats to take down this Presidency.  I hope the American sheeple will finally see this after the debacle we have had the last two weeks.


  7. False equivalency is the stock in trade of the Republican party. Bernstein is absolutely correct in his analysis. Sadly, there are too few like him around these days. I've made the comparison between the devolution of the Republican party into todays nest of rabid ideologues and the rise of the Nazi party in Germany before, and I stand by that comparison, but there is another one that is equally apt. This is a replay of the McCarthy era. There isn't a specific Republican who embodies all of the evil of Joe McCarthy (although Ted Cruz would no doubt love to claim that mantle) but taken collectively, the tactics are similar and the attitude is the same – the big lie, personal attacks and an utter disregard for the proprieties of the political process. Where oh where is Edward R. Murrow now that we need him again?

  8. Hi Tom!….(I can't get to any articles right now…it all goes "white blank" except the top of care 2)..Thankyou for the green star and everyone else that sent one, on my comment..("wishing upon a falling star.."…)….I am in a "whiteout/blackout"!..I will be sending a help request to Care2…..but for now, I can't get to any article on the whole site. Be well!! ..and keep kicking butt! Sincerely, Shelly

    • Shelly, I'm sorry you're having trouble at Care2.  I hope you realize that thes is a completely eparate website.  Thanks.  Please put comments that aren't pertinernt to the topic of the message in the Open Thread, OK?

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