False Equivalency

At his Washington rally, and during his Daily Show interview with Chris Wallace, John Stewart claimed Fox News and MSNBC are guilty of the same kind of biased journalism.

After the Washington rally, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann argued that this is a false equivalency.

Several months ago I wrote a Facebook message to a high school classmate on this topic:

This is how I describe the difference between right-wing and left-wing media:

The liberal media use the actual words of conservatives (sometimes out of context, sometimes not) to ridicule their ideas and philosophy. The right-wing media distorts the words (and beliefs) of liberals, and then ridicules them.

You can watch for yourself, any night of the week, except weekends.

Let’s see who is right — John Stewart or me. Watch O’Reilly, Hannity, Beck, etc. and count how many times they distort liberal beliefs and then ridicule them. Do they realize they are doing this? In the language of debate competitions, they “prop up a straw man and knock it down.”

Then watch MSNBC (Schultz, Matthews, Olbermann, Maddow, O’Donnell, etc.). Which side wins the straw man competition? All the Fox News viewers who commented at the end of the linked video should try this little experiment.

Yes, John Stewart — yours is a false equivalency. Your comedy is funny because it discerns both ridiculous truths and ridiculous distortions. You need more discernment on this one.


#1 Thomas Neuville on 11.05.10 at 7:37 am

The end product of this are young minds that are not minding the world. A third year post secondary teacher candidate, when challenged to step up to her moral obligation of building a strong knowledge base in order to raise her future students to participate in a democratic society, channeled the popular distortions as she defiantly proclaimed; “well what if they want to be Republican?” A sad and true story.

#2 Casey on 11.05.10 at 11:26 am

Thanks for the story Thomas. Distortions seem to rule the day. Schools actually teach intellectual incompetence (lack of imagination), fear of truth, and pride, which is a deadly combination.

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