That Americans even need to discuss the idea of “balanced” news in America is part of the serious problem with American media. News outlets are proudly un-balanced. They market themselves that way. They revel in it. For CNN’s Brian Stelter, “balanced” news involves reading newspapers from Washington DC and Los Angeles, CA.
This is not a conversation about the opinion and commentary shows. While they should all look honestly at news and stories affecting the nation, they will have thoughts and views that have a bias. That’s rational. As a radio host, I have a point of view that I share with my audience on 93.1 FM WIBC in Indianapolis. Our newsroom, however, is a separate entity. They practice journalism; they report the story. I, as a commentator and host, share my views on those stories.
But it is increasingly obvious that newsrooms across America don’t share this view. The “journalism” is their point of view. Hannah Dreier of the Washington Post engaged in a full attack on Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis for not ensuring FEMA assistance after the condo collapse in Surfside. (As of writing this, nine people are dead and numerous people are still missing and believed buried in the rubble.) She claimed in a tweet:
There's a saying in emergency management: The first 24 hours are the only 24 hours.— Hannah Dreier (@hannahdreier) June 26, 2021
FEMA was ready to deploy to the condo collapse almost immediately, and included the crisis in its daily briefing, but didn't get permission from Gov. DeSantis to get on the ground for a full day. pic.twitter.com/rVmCN47sQJ
But this was not the case. As Gov. DeSantis’ office explained, the governor signed an executive order to get assistance to those affected by the building collapse:
This is missing important context, @hannahdreier never asked me for comment. emergency response started within minutes of the disaster led by Miami Dade County, amazing first responders. county mayor signed local emergency dec 4:40 & @GovRonDeSantis signed eo less than 1hr later https://t.co/3YkkumZDCC— Christina Pushaw (@ChristinaPushaw) June 27, 2021
It is understood that first responders were on the scene within minutes. Surfside Democratic Mayor Daniella Levine Cava didn’t sign an order to provide aid until 12 hours after the collapse. DeSantis then signed his order.
So why didn’t Hannah Dreier report this in toto? It seems clear we have two choices: a) She did not do the job of a journalist and did not check the facts, or (b) she did not care about the job of a journalist, therefore she did not care about the facts and instead pushed a narrative. The narrative of course being the Republican, DeSantis, didn’t do his job and is, somehow, responsible for the damage.
Dreier, according to her bio at The Washington Post, is a “national reporter,” and has won numerous awards for journalism, including the Pulitzer Prize and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.
How does this relate to CNN host and Chief “Blame Fox News” siren, Brian Stelter? In a livestream at The Washington Post, Stelter was asked by host Jonathan Capehart, “How can citizens be educated to question propaganda and think critically?”
Stelter responded by saying Americans need, “a healthy balanced media diet.” His version of that:
“At the end of the day, we all need to eat a healthy balanced media diet. That’s why I pay for the Washington Post and the L.A. Times, right? I want to hear the California perspective, I also want to know what’s happening in Washington and I love the way The Post is expanding globally to cover the whole world,” Stelter explained. “I need all of that in my media diet. And we need in our own lives and in our own communities to instill those same values. I think a lot of this is on the individual level, one-to-one, trying to help our friends and neighbors seek out real news.”– Brian Stelter of CNN, as reported by NewsBusters
A balanced view comes from the East Coast AND the West Coast? (Once again, the media elites never think of hearing from the Heartland!)
Geography not-withstanding, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times are from the same perspective: Leftist. From Russia to Covid-19 lab leaks to the condo collapse in Surfside, no rational person thinks the “perspective” is different. If Dreier is lying about the response from Gov. DeSantis, is that, “real news,” as Stelter describes it because it came from the Washington Post?
The Post and the Times (among many, many, many others) are guilty of correction journalism; the practice of reporting a story without all the facts, only to issue a “correction” at some later date. In the case of The Washington Post, they have actually changed headlines that are over a year old to “correct” the record, but still allow the narrative pushed to remain. (If you never saw what WaPo did regarding the possibility that Covid-19 leaked from a lab in Wuhan, read this.)
Stelter’s position here is indefensible. Then again, so is Stelter. Perhaps that is why his viewership is at an all-time low. Perhaps that is why MSNBC host Joy Reid’s viewership is in the same basement, considering her anti-fact conversations about Critical Race Theory and anti-racism among other topics.
A “balanced media diet” only comes when so-called news organization demand focus on news over narrative. That is what America wants. And as the ratings (and readership) show, America does not reward those who lie to us, then demand we respect them.