In writing about some recent craziness of Haley Barbour, Krugman laments "If you say that one of our two major parties has gone completely off the deep end, you’re considered shrill and extreme. But if you don’t say that, if you pretend that someone like Barbour is a reasonable guy with somewhat different views, then you’re fundamentally lying about reality."
I linked earlier to the article on the press treatment of the "death panels" lie. Its authors made a related point: print journalists sometimes pointed out the lie, but often did not in an effort to appear "balanced." And had that article looked at television, I think they would find a far lower percentage that have pointed out the lie.
This shows that something is broken in journalism. The first duty of journalists should be to the truth, not to balance. When journalists avoid looking for and stating the truth in order to be balanced they are doing the public a grave disservice. Something is broken in much of the TV news.