April 21, 2012 by David K. Sutton
More False Equivalence In New York Times Article On Republican Focus On Social Issues
Michael Cooper writes in The New York Times: Concern in G.O.P. Over State Focus on Social Issues. In this otherwise fine article covering the potential political pitfalls for Republicans focusing on social issues instead of the economy, Cooper falls into the false equivalence trap when he says:
It is not only Republican-led states that have turned to social issues as some of the immediate pressures of the fiscal crisis have begun to ease: Washington and Maryland, which are controlled by Democrats, both enacted laws legalizing same-sex marriage this year, and Connecticut voted this month to repeal its death penalty.
OK, while his statement is technically true, does anybody else have a problem with the implied equivalence? Let’s clarify the difference between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to social issues. When Republicans focus on social issues they pass laws that discriminate, limit rights, and deny scientific evidence. When Democrats focus on social issues they pass laws that enhance equality, protect rights, and embrace science-based teaching. There is no equivalence in the way the two parties focus on social issues, but nowhere in Cooper’s article does he make this point, and I have to guess that it’s to appear objective.
This is a serious problem in the media, made worse every time Fox News and right-wing pundits cry liberal bias and reporters react by giving equal time to two sides of an issue regardless of individual merits. If we are ever going to advance this country towards “a more perfect union” we need to report facts, call out nonsense, and stop trying to equate the two sides as mirror images.