The Nation Magazine’s columnist, Eric Alterman, wrote a good piece on ABC News’ announcement that Christiane Amanpour would be the new host of This Week. In his column, he quoted Amanpour on the role of journalists and objectivity:
“There are some situations one simply cannot be neutral about, because when when you are neutral you are an accomplice,” said Amanpour. “Objectivity does not mean treating all sides equally. It means giving each side a hearing.”
While she was discussing Bosnia in this interview, she might as well have been talking about the “debate” over LGBT equality. The fact that we do not yet have our rights is a monumental failure of the media to do its job.
Instead of researching and separating fact from fiction, all too often we get a bogus left vs. right paradigm. In this structure, the television host or reporter is seen as a well-dressed referee in the middle of a seesaw – keeping an equilibrium between equally valid views.
Of course, this is not the case. Our opponents consistently lie, use fake research and distort the facts. Media representatives who allow deliberate misinformation to be disseminated, slander to be leveled and vicious smear campaigns to be launched that denigrate an entire class of people are, in my view, accomplices to the harm done to that community.
When media hear lies – they have a duty to counter them with facts. While balance is important – it is no substitute for accuracy.