For some time now, Palmer Report has had a fairly rocky relationship with the mainstream media – particularly when it comes to cable news. We’ve watched pundits on MSNBC and CNN that we’ve been supportive of and listened to narratives that we’ve been fairly skeptical of – both during and after Donald Trump’s presidency, and through it all, a number of our calls have been accurate while cable news pundits pursuing ratings can’t quite say the same.
Generally, the approach I’ve taken is that while most media outlets don’t have a liberal bias and they’re hardly the enemy of the people, they’re also not necessarily your friend either. One problem is that while journalism is typically expected to be objective, it’s become more difficult to do so without appearing biased against the GOP. Rather than deciding that the behavior of one side is much more dangerous and calling it for what it is, the media tends to beat on a “both sides” narrative – that both parties are somewhat normal politically and populated by responsible adults, and then they’ll point out things that Democrats are doing wrong too – no matter how laughably bad the take is.
You don’t have to take my word for it though. In fact, Chuck Todd, who has inept takes down to a science, basically admitted the same thing while being interviewed by The Verge: “We ended up in this both-sides trope. We bought into the idea that, oh my God, we’re perceived as having a liberal bias…And we bought into the Fox motto of ‘balance.’ And it’s like, Jesus, there’s no balance, they need the truth. There’s fairness, that’s different than balance.”
Todd has had a few moments of clarity like this – but it isn’t necessarily a reason to go back to watching his show either. While there’s nothing strictly wrong with watching cable news to stay informed, it’s probably good to limit your intake and stay proactive – campaign for Democratic candidates when you can and try to support print media, rather than let doomsday forecasts run your life – and tune out the pundits who run with them.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making