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Monday, June 7, 2010

Fair and Balanced?

I thought this report from The Washington Post, "Arizona leaders lament as state's image takes beating with new immigration law" might be a bit one-sided."

There is the end of the lede:
When state Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) travels outside Arizona, she hears the same question over and over:  "What's wrong with your state?" She notes Arizona's new immigration law, its ban on ethnic studies classes and its prohibition on creating animal-human hybrids.
What exactly is meant by animal-human hybrids?  I would like to know a bit more before I condemned this law as being a thoughtless reaction to normal scientific research.  This line from Wikipedia expresses my thought on the reporter's casual dismissal of what might be a set of serious ethical questions:
However, increasingly realizable projects using part-human, part-animal chimeras as living factories not only for biopharmaceutical production but also for producing cells or organs (see hybridomas) for xenotransplantation raise a host of ethical and safety issues
Overall, it seemed like sloppy journalism, and a little one-sided.

Regards  —  Cliff


Craig H said...

Yep--a soapbox (i.e. editorial) dressed up in quotes to resemble a "news" piece, and it's just about worthless.

My next thought is that by invoking the "Fair and Balanced" question, you're immediately drawing other criticism leveled at Fox into the discussion. (Are you?)

Nonsense is nonsense. My problem is that partisans only recognize one brand of it.

C R Krieger said...

I would go with "partisans only acknowledge one brand of it."

I thought about the "Fair and Balanced" issue as I was writing the post and decided that fair and balanced should have been the motto of MSM news organizations for long before Fox.  After the Yellow Journalism of over a century ago and the hyper-journalism of the late 1700s and the mid-1800s, I would have thought that the press had grown up.  So, no, I was not trying to draw Fox into this discussion, but to bounce off it to hit the mark.

But, thinking of Fox, the joke is that while the older outlets sneer at Fox, Fox draws about half the viewership  and that reflects how we vote every four years.  We hardly ever stray far from 52/48 in the popular vote.

But, a good question.

Regards  —  Cliff

Craig H said...

I'd disagree with your distinction between "acknowledge" and "recognize". It's my experience that repeated selective acknowledgement leads inevitably to repeated selective recognition, which, inevitably, leads both sides of any question to summarily disbelieve anything sensible said by the other. (One good example is/was Al Gore, observing that national security, our fiscal woes, and our energy problems all have to be solved via energy independence. All good dirt eating, tree hugging liberals take this as gospel, while, if you'd like to make the same point to a red blooded red necked good old boy conservative, you have to reference, rather, the collected works of T. Boone Pickens).

The underlying problem--no matter who is in charge, or who might like to constructively solve a problem--is that ideological opposition immediately sets upon any potential do-gooder as a heretic, and we get nowhere. (Witness the personal political vendetta by the left against Bush, matched with the more recent personal political vendetta by the right against Obama).

This plays out to a T in the AZ immigration law debate, where nobody wants to understand what the AZ lawmakers were attempting to do, and why, before blasting them as racist xenophobes promoting a police state. I personally believe the law promotes racist xenophobia, and fosters a police state, but that does not and should never mean that I disrespect the underlying issues, which are the perception of lawlessness (even though crime states in AZ have plunged over recent years, despite the hyperbole) and the straining of public services to accommodate the reality on the ground there. Those are both problems in need of solution, and damning anyone for their attempts to take them on is unfair.

What's wrong with Arizona is that they have to deal with the consequences of a surfeit of illegal immigration. The solution may not be "show me your papers", but the rebuttal should be a better alternative, not a media pillory.