David Roberts @drvox Seattleite transplanted from Tennessee; now blogging for vox.com/ about energy politics. Climate hawk, deficit dove. Not a doctor. Aug. 26, 2019 1 min read

Oh, look, right-wingers have stumbled across the strategy of whining about media bias.  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/25/us/politics/trump-allies-news-media.html 

For both the bad-faith RW media attackers & the cringing, overcompensating victims of those attacks (see: Dean Baquet), "unbiased" has devolved to mean, "an equal number of positive & negative stories on both sides." It doesn't take much thought to see why that's bankrupt.

That is 100% the dynamic that drove the Hillary email stories. Trump does & says so many terrible things that simply covering them at all starts to look like a pile-on. Media *needed* negative Hillary stories, for "balance."

It is also 100% the dynamic that will drive "balanced" coverage of the coming race. Trump & the GOP are jailing children, f'ing up the economy, & elevating white supremacy. What will "balance" all this? Maybe "Pocahontas"? It will be something that stupid.

What the Baquets of the world don't realize is that, even if all the stories are technically *accurate*, the gestalt of seeing an equally sized parade of negative stories on both sides is, for the average news consumer, "everyone sucks." Or "Washington" or "politics" is broken.

It's basically the perfect social system for providing cover to bad actors. No matter how bad they get, if they whine about "bias" enough, they can ensure that their opponents will be covered equally badly. It's a free pass, a kind of social immunity.

Oh, adding one final thing to this thread: to a tribalist, there's no such thing as transpartisan standards of accuracy or fairness -- only a zero-sum competition b/t sides. From that perspective, fairness can *only* mean equal numbers of + and - stories.

You can follow @drvox.


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