“Both” sides?

Many people seem to think that objectivity and balance in political journalism is satisfied by reporting “both sides” of any story–that is, reporting what opposing candidates have to say about any issue.

But reporting opposing falsehoods is neither objective nor balanced. Truly objective reporting is telling what the candidates said, along with the verifiable truth. In other words, not “both sides”, but “all sides”, including the truth.

Unfortunately, partisanship almost always trumps objectivity, so many people would rather have reports about “both sides” rather than “all sides”. And many journalists, whether through laziness or actual constraints, give in to this demand.

We’ll never have the information we need for a real democracy until political journalism reports on “all sides”, truth included.

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