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Of course we're Fair and Balanced!


"He said, she said" journalism

In a letter posted at the Columbia Journalism Review's Campaign Desk, Dennis Yedwab, "a graduate student at the [John F.] Kennedy School [of Government at Harvard]" and "rapid response/research campaign guy who has worked on numerous campaigns," addresses the question of "why newspapers refuse to make a judgment on whether an ad [or statement by a campaign or condidate] is true or not" as follows:

They don't want a campaign to make an ad using quotes by the papers in the spot, e.g., "the New York Times called George Bush's ad 'a distortion....'" The media still has a self-image of itself as a neutral observer of the political process, when in fact, it is a crucial shaper of that process. This is not a comment about bias, rather about Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle -- that "the act of observing a phenomenon changes the nature of that phenomenon." Until the political media recognizes that this is true, we will continue to have this bizarre Kabuki theatre of political reportage.

Aha! Now that makes sense. I recall seeing numerous political ads quoting various media sources in past campaigns. Are there fewer of them these days, as I would expect if Mr Yedwab is right?

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