The problem with media balance

The GOP’s war on the media has gone into overdrive. And it’s working. Fewer people trust the media, and the media has to pretend to present both “sides” to deflect the criticism.

A perfect example popped up today. The “liberal” media gave us this doozy: “Did Clinton and Trump Both Collude with Russia?” This is the top story right now on USAToday. And, of course, it is a completely fair question…at least if you think hiring a private investigator to see if your opponent colluded with Russia is equivalent to colluding with Russia. It’s very confusing you know. They both say Russia in the accusation.

For every example of liberal media bias, I guarantee I can find a similar reaction to liberal media intentionally giving air time to objectively invalid conservatives viewpoints in the name of balance.

But of course, this goes beyond the president’s open disdain for the first amendment. And it certainly didn’t start with the president. The real goal of the GOP is to destroy any source that could credibly contradict their lies. Think of an objective body and I bet they’ve tried to discredit them. Scientists, universities and educators, journalists, the Congressional Budget Office…pretty much anyone that doesn’t parrot them is going to get attacked.

Retired Gen. Michael Hayden, who directed both the CIA and the NSA, describes Trump’s strategy this way in an interview: “A systematic effort to invalidate and delegitimize all the institutions, governmental and nongovernmental, that create the factual basis for action . . . so they won’t push back against arbitrary moves.”

The right wing echo chamber has created such a truth averse universe, it’s as if it’s the equivalent of matter to antimatter. The antitruth media. After the White Supremacist march in Charlottesville, Alabama conservatives blamed…wait, I’ll give you three guesses: Barack Obama, Donald Trump, or the KKK. If you guess Obama you get the free vacation and the matching set of leatherette luggage!!!

For Pete’s sake, the far right is currently in a tizzy because they are absolutely convinced that antifa is going to start a civil war tomorrow starting with beheading random white people. I cannot make this shit up. And the real kicker: it’s being propagated by at least 2 media sources that Trump just gave White House press passes to.

What hope do we have when people openly accept obvious lies as facts? What can be done when people know their news is not honest but don’t care? Surely nobody thinks Fox News is ACTUALLY fair and balanced. Hell, they even dropped the joke from their tagline.

Until we can have an honest debate in this country using a shared reality of the facts of the situation, or at least some overlapping facts, we are not getting out of this situation. But I’m not sure where that change comes from, because people have to want the truth rather than seeking out what makes them feel good.

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