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Has Donald Trump personally walked on the moon, views differ

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Above: a model of how not to do reporting

Jennifer Rubin recently made an anodyne point about how misapplied journalistic conventions are exploited by professional liars:

Why is it that Sunday news show hosts don’t ask Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), “Why are you pretending Trump’s document excuses are real?” And why is that when they talk to Trump supporters who spout the “big lie,” the interviewers do not ask them, “You know this is a lie Trump cooked up months before the election, right?” The Kabuki dance in which Trump, his defenders and his supporters are treated as rational (clever even!) is what comes from a media establishment that refuses to discard its need for false balance that it has developed over the course of decades.

The free, independent media is supposed to be the tripwire between disinformation (deliberate distortion) and widespread misinformation (innocent or willfully ignorant regurgitation of lies). Instead, it has been a megaphone for disinformation, upholding the pretense that there are two political parties with equally valid takes on reality.

Speaking of professional liars, this compelled Jonathan Turley, one of Trump’s most embarrassing media lackeys, to pretend to be offended:

However, her recent column shows that she has made a clean break not only from Republicans but from reason. The writer (long cited by the Post as their “Republican columnist” for balance) has called for the media to abandon balance and impartiality. Rubin is demanding that the media just become overt advocates in refusing to report both sides in the myriad of political issues in this election…That balance was once called “journalism” but Rubin now calls it facilitating “disinformation.” Balanced reporting is now dangerous and makes the media “a megaphone for disinformation, upholding the pretense that there are two political parties with equally valid takes on reality.”

The familiar fallacy here is to conflate “balance” and “impartiality.” Needless to say, in fact a commitment to the former is frequently incompatible with the latter. Actual impartiality requires not simply printing claims that the 2020 election was stolen as fact because somebody said them. When Trump’s spokepeople make unfounded claims they’re suddenly not willing to make when under oath, good reporters point this out. Of course, when your status (such as it is) as a farcical pseudo-intellectual depends on not understanding this, you have to carry on. Sad given that while you can humiliate yourself as much as the Dersh you’ll never be nearly as famous.

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