Fair is fair  | American Journalism Review
 AJR  Letters
From AJR,   December/January 2010

Fair is fair   

By Unknown

Rem Rieder's column on "Daydream Believers" makes reference to the concept of 50-50 treatment in news stories and he rightfully concludes that such a rule is misleading. One wonders, however, if journalistic objectivity can be questioned on a different basis. The MSM treatment of the "60 Minutes" story on President Bush's service in the National Guard comes to mind. In addition, I would offer up the treatment of Sarah Palin's performance in the vice presidential debate versus that of Joe Biden. While her credibility was examined in light of her inexperience, Sen. Biden's missteps were left untouched. 50-50 is not the answer, but if one is to examine the truthfulness or accuracy of one candidate, then the opposing candidate should be examined as well.

The rapid demise of news providers is in no small part due to the lack of trust the consumer has for those who are "telling us like it is!" I am certain you would agree that news is one of the most important factors in maintaining a healthy democracy. I submit to you that the press has much to answer for and only the press can fix it. After all, the First Amendment does protect your right to choose your topics and how stories are covered. Self-restraint and fairness are difficult to maintain, but they also have been lacking for a long time.

H. Michael Sarkisian

Sacramento, California




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