Sunday, October 13, 2013

False Equivalency is one of the biggest problems in the United States right now

It is likely that the political stalemate between Republicans and Democrats will be resolved in some manner sooner rather than later. It could have been much sooner than later: the reality is that it need not have occurred in the first place.
Why did it occur? Because a media and political system allowed false equivalencies to rule the day. False equivalencies give plausibility to each side even if one side is provably wrong. Anthony was creepy for showing his private parts on twitter; David Vitter using the services of prostitutes broke the law. The media treated these two events as equivalent.
Over the years Republicans have successfully used a trick that works almost all of the times—they accuse the media of having a liberal bias. They tell their base that the media and institutions of learning favor liberals, and in doing so, "attacks" on Republicans by the media are perceived by their base as false and stemming from so-called liberalism.
The most serious consequence of the accusation of the media having a liberal bias is its effect on the traditional media: It forces members to overcompensate in an attempt to seem "balanced." This has been on display quite a bit lately. Throughout the current government shutdown and budget crisis, the traditional media has been attempting to make it look as if the differences between the two parties has been a simple dispute for which both sides bear the equal responsibility. Reporters reminded America that Senator Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling, for example. While true, President Obama’s political vote never placed the country in danger.
There is no equivalence in most of the political arguments today. The Republican Party has lied to the American population not on what the party's ideology is, but on what that ideology would do to the standard of living of the working middle class. Making their arguments equivalent to those of the Democrats confuses Americans just like snake oil salesmen of the past did. And Republicans were permitted by the media to get away with a level of lies and misinformation that acted to embolden them and their lies.
Read the rest here. It's right on the money. If the media were doing their job, the shutdown and all the rest of this nonsense might not even have happened.


SJHoneywell said...

Of course it's even more insidious than what you've posted. The deregulation of the media occurred under Reagan's watch, and with the intent of allowing the media to skew itself conservative, since the majority of the extremely wealthy media outlet owners and advertisers are conservative.

Ipecac said...

Great point.

And they did it while simultaneously ramping up the constant refrain of "liberal media" so much that whatever neutral media was left felt pressure to demonstrate that they weren't biased by becoming even more conservative.