Sunday, May 29, 2011

How the news media handled the "death panel lie"—a valuable study

The Nieman Journalism Lab publishes an excellent study of how the newspapers handled Sarah Palin's "Death Panel" lie two years ago. The bottom line? Journalists were confused about whether being fair and objective means just reporting on different views, or whether they should say what they can verify or refute as true or false. That confusion, in the view of the authors helped the lie to spread.

The issue they point to is indicative of a much larger problem. Palin's lie was easily refuted. In more complex issues most journalists feel no obligation to ascertain the truth. They just quote opposite sides and leave it at that. That's the main reason, in my view, the "Republi-con," the claim that lowering taxes on the rich is the key to prosperity, still has any credibility. And why I started this blog

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