October 9, 2012 by David K. Sutton
Paul Krugman: It Is The Job Of The News Media To Report Falsehoods
The media’s unwillingness or inability to consistently fact-check politicians and other high-profile newsmakers, is one of the primary reasons this blog exists. The Left Call is not a fact-checking site, but I do my best to represent the facts and then tell it as I see it. Yes, I have liberal bias, but I do not have an “us” vs. “them” style agenda. My goal is not to defeat Republicans or defeat conservatives. My goal is to promote and achieve civil rights, equality, tolerance — In other words, freedom and liberty for all.
Today Paul Krugman wrote on his New York Times blog:
A late thought about the discussion on This Week. I suggested that it was the job of the news media to check on and report falsehoods from politicians. The response of the other panelists was that the media can’t do that if the opposing candidates didn’t make an issue of it — which as far as I can tell makes no sense at all.
But even granted that, the fact is that the Obama campaign is making an issue of Romney’s falsehoods, or at least trying to. Yet this is apparently considered unworthy of attention, because Obama didn’t make a forceful attack right there on the spot.
So let’s see if I have this straight: it’s not the job of the press to take on political falsehoods unless the other side makes a forceful case in 30 seconds or less. Glad to see that this has been clarified. – Paul Krugman
What Krugman is pointing out is yet another example of why the Sunday shows are simply dreadful. On most Sundays, these show devolve into a lowest common denominator discussion of issues. Rarely is there anything to learn, and they believe they are being fair because they put an equal number of conservatives and liberals on the panel. But who cares about “fair”? Since when was “fair” the goal? If one side is distorting facts, why does it deserve equal weight?
I think an environment where truth, justice and a proper representation of the facts are valued above fairness is the only way we can have intelligent conversations about issues. And it’s the only way we will move forward in this country and advance human rights. The problem is that we can’t even agree on the facts, and this is where the news media has failed us.
Yes, some claims are subjective and are therefore immune from fact-checking, but things like the size of a tax cut are not subjective. It’s just math, and the news media cannot allow it to be misrepresented. It’s the job of the news media to give us the facts and call out the falsehoods. Left or right, the news media cannot be afraid to call out a politician or presidential candidate who says something false.
If a politician is propagating a gross misrepresentation of an irrefutable fact, the news media should report it as a lie, whether it’s a state representative, a presidential candidate or the president himself.