An NBC News anchor says the idea of journalistic fairness is outdated.
April 8, 2021
ITEM #1: If there’s an iron law of journalism, it’s that reporters should strive to be objective and fair. Whatever their own biases might be, they have a duty to at least try to leave those at the door when they report to work, and not let their personal predispositions color their reporting of the news.
It’s painfully true that many (probably most) journalists are guilty of failing to live up to that standard. But the vast majority of them at least have enough respect for their profession to recognize the importance of objectivity in principle, and to acknowledge their responsibility to meet that standard whenever possible.
Then there’s Lester Holt.
Holt, an NBC News anchor, would be among those who routinely fail the objectivity test. But what makes him stand out is that apparently, he doesn’t think journalists should even bother to try to pass it.
And Fox News’ Tucker Carlson has a thing or two to say about that.
You can click here for video of Holt’s incredible comments, as well as the response from Carlson and others.
As Fox News’ David Rutz reports:
“Tucker Carlson blasted NBC News anchor Lester Holt Thursday for encouraging journalists to not commit to 'fairness' in the name of combating misinformation, calling it 'demented' and the opposite of what journalism should be.
“While accepting a media award Tuesday, Holt said the notion of giving two sides 'equal weight' was outdated, in what critics called a clear dogwhistle to liberal media members.
"'They're grotesque,' Carlson said of Holt's comments on 'Outnumbered.' 'Fairness is never overrated ... If you don't strive to be fair, you are certain to commit moral atrocities, but again, not just true for network newsreaders. By the way, when did newsreaders become philosophers? I think Lester Holt seems like a perfectly nice guy, but you don't turn to Lester Holt for deepthink. The truth is, he's saying that we know what we know, and we shouldn't question it, when in fact the reality of life suggests that's completely wrong.'"
Incredibly, while Carlson rightly condemned Holt’s remarks, others in the news media went out of their way to commend him.
More from Rutz:
"Holt received praise from liberal reporters like CNN's John Harwood and Brian Stelter for his comments. Left-leaning outlets in recent months have increasingly called for silencing opposing views in the name of combating misinformation, while ignoring biases and misinformation in their own ranks."
Carlson added: "The point of journalism is to continuously press against what we think we know, demand evidence, and show it to the public. It's not to affirm what the ruling class declares, which is basically what he's saying. It's demented, actually."
In related news, Felix Salmon of Axios reported earlier this year that the public’s trust in the media has hit a “new low,” with 58 percent of Americans believing that "most news organizations are more concerned with supporting an ideology or political position than with informing the public."
When journalists can issue explicit calls to reject the principles of fairness outright, and are actually applauded by their peers for it, well … don’t expect those trust numbers to improve anytime soon.
ITEM #2: “The coronavirus crisis is over, and yet government keeps looking for ways to expand its power,” writes Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Victor Joecks, in a sentence that quite aptly sums up the nature of government itself.
Joecks breaks down the latest assault on liberty:
"The Biden administration is currently driving an effort to create a national standard for vaccine passports. Americans would use such documents to prove they’ve received the COVID vaccine. If widely adopted, access to activities — such as flights, business meetings or recreational activities — could be restricted only to those who show their vaccine passport.
“In early March, the Federal Health IT Coordinating Council held a briefing on the need for a unified federal policy on vaccine passports. ‘Federal government has a strong interest in how this (the creation of vaccine passports) plays out, and its actions will guide the pace and direction of the market,’ a slide from the meeting read.”
Joecks’ view on this whole thing is clear enough from the column’s headline (“Take your vaccine passport and shove it”), but just in case there’s any doubt, he drives home the major problems with the administration’s course of action:
“The federal government has no business requiring you to prove you’ve had a vaccine before engaging in ordinary activities. Even if there’s not a formal mandate, the federal government ‘guiding’ the market to create a de facto requirement is just as problematic.
"Consider the philosophical objection first. This fundamentally twists the proper relationship between individuals and government. Our Founding Fathers believed that God gave people 'unalienable rights,' which included 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.' Governments were instituted 'to secure these rights.'
"Government should serve people, not the other way around. Imposing a requirement that someone obtain a shot to participate in society is a significant limitation on liberty. It would require individuals to jump through government-imposed hoops to participate in normal activities. That doesn’t sound like the policy of a free country."
Indeed, it isn’t.
Joecks also calls out Nevada’s own Governor Steve Sisolak for continuing to unilaterally impose restrictions with “no legislative input,” a reminder that it’s not just at the federal level where governments are prone to engage in abusive and authoritarian behavior.
Joecks’ full piece is well worth your time, and you can read it here.
ITEM #3: As a presidential candidate, Joe Biden famously promised to govern as a bi-partisan, unifying figure, a lie that was laughably obvious at the time and took about five minutes to be revealed after he was sworn into office.
Writing at the American Spectator, David Catron weighs in on one of the starkest betrayals of that promise so far:
“Despite his pledge to work across the aisle with Republicans, Biden never had any intention of doing so. This became manifestly obvious when 10 Senate Republicans went to the White House in February and offered to cooperate on a bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill. He smiled, nodded, and ignored them. The meeting was reminiscent of the high-handed way Biden’s former boss treated Republicans during talks leading up to the passage of his 2009 ‘stimulus’ bill. And, like that boondoggle, the coronavirus bill was cobbled together and passed by the House with no GOP input or votes.”
Catron argues that Biden’s lurch to the left contains echoes of the mistakes Bill Clinton made early in his own presidency, which led to a GOP takeover of Congress in 1994. And Republicans don’t need nearly as good a year in 2022 to capture both houses again:
"[T]he Democrats face a uniquely unfavorable political landscape. First, despite winning the White House, they very nearly lost their House majority in 2020. Instead of gaining 10 to 15 seats, as many 'experts' predicted, they suffered a double-digit loss. Their current majority is 219-212. The Republicans hardly need a 'red wave' to take control of the chamber. Second, the president’s party almost always loses a significant number of House seats during the first midterm of his tenure (the Democrats lost 63 seats in the first midterm of the Obama presidency)."
Biden would be wise to abandon his radicalism and govern with more moderation. This would be good not just for his party, but for the country. Alas, he certainly won’t, because he can’t. And that’s because the increasingly rabid, left-wing base to which the entire Democrat Party is beholden simply won’t let him.
ITEM #4: A Washington Examiner editorial proposes a solution to the left’s attempts to control what words we are and aren’t allowed to use to describe what’s currently happening on our Southern border.
The editors observe:
“Democrats and the liberal media are policing the words we should use to describe the absolute catastrophe we’re witnessing each day at the southern border. They don’t like ‘crisis’ or ‘surge.’
“So, let us propose this description: Joe Biden’s fault.”
They go on to offer a damning indictment of Biden’s stunning incompetence in handling this rapidly deteriorating situation, writing:
"Biden came into office with a gift. The previous administration labored ceaselessly and effectively to prevent the precise problem that we’re now seeing. Former President Donald Trump and his White House worked with the governments of Mexico and Central America to stem the endless tide of migrants making their way to southern Texas seeking asylum. ...
"Grappling with the border was a yearslong undertaking for the last president. Trump erected more walls in the southwest, which U.S. Customs and Border Protection said were desperately needed. He raised the standard for what qualified as a legitimate claim for asylum, as human traffickers had figured out how to game our generous policies. And he sent the message to Latin America that he had made it as cumbersome as possible to slide into the United States without first going through a process of legal entry.
"He did all of this without abandoning America’s legal and moral duty to grant asylum to those who need it.
"It worked. All of it worked."
Then along came Biden:
“But something else happened in 2020 — the Democratic presidential primary. During that show, each one of the party’s presidential candidates pledged to open the border and load anyone entering the country up with welfare and free healthcare. Biden joined in that choir.
“The hymn to open borders carried down to the Northern Triangle. Come one, come all.
“As a consequence, the number of border crossings has sharply climbed since April. In that month last year, Border Patrol documented just over 17,000 border apprehensions. As of February of this year, barely a month into Biden’s presidency, the number made it to an astronomical 100,000.”
The blame for all this rests with President Biden and those who have enabled his reckless approach, full stop. There’s no amount of spin from the media that can alter that reality, and there are no word games or rhetorical tricks that can make this crisis — and yes, it is a crisis — go away.
ITEM #5: Want more evidence that school choice works? Well, the editors of the Las Vegas Review-Journal have it.
“Choice opponents frequently contend that giving parents educational options is a betrayal of students who remain in the public schools. That argument is a red herring for many reasons. The primary responsibility of parents is to their children. Parents should be encouraged — not shamed — for taking steps that help their kids become better prepared for productive lives. In attacking choice, members of the education establishment are simply shifting blame for their own failures.
“Of equal significance, that argument doesn’t hold up to empirical scrutiny. A 2016 effort looked at 33 studies that attempted to answer the question of how school choice affected students who remained in the public schools. The review found that 31 studies concluded that competition improved outcomes for public school students. One found no change, and one found a negative effect. Those studies covered programs across the country, including Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana. Forcing public schools to compete for students makes public schools stronger.”
That was 2016. What about today?
"A recent study out of the University of Arkansas takes an even broader view. It notes the rapid expansion of school choice over the past two decades and the relatively flat or declining scores on the National Assessment of Education Progress, aka the Nation’s Report Card. This study sought to answer the question: 'Is educational freedom still associated with academic performance in the states, or do other state characteristics and policy reforms better predict where students are and are not learning?'
"Researchers ranked states in four areas — private school choice, charter schools, homeschooling and public school choice — to create an Education Freedom Index. It then used regression models to determine if there was a correlation between educational freedom and NAEP scores.
“'We find that higher levels of education freedom are significantly associated with higher NAEP achievement levels and higher NAEP achievement gains in all our statistical models,' the researchers wrote."
The Review-Journal’s editors remark that “Nevada lawmakers should take notice” of this information. Yet even if they do, history suggests that the far-left Democrats who currently dominate our state legislature will simply ignore the evidence. And Nevada’s children will continue to suffer under a broken, failing system.
As our nation’s professional sports leagues have seemingly enlisted in a competition to see which could become the wokest the fastest, Major League Baseball has stood out for its relative restraint. There have been some obnoxious moments, to be sure, but nothing on par with either the National Football League or the National Basketball Association, easily the two worst offenders.
Yet now, sadly, MLB’s status as a beacon of sanity is going, going, gone.
Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that MLB will remove its All-Star Game from Atlanta this year because of the State of Georgia’s attempts to bring more security and accountability to its election policies — efforts that have been met with hysterical allegations of racism and warnings of a return to the Jim Crow era from the left (including President Biden).
As the editors of National Review put it, Manfred “has managed to get to the left of Stacey Abrams on Georgia’s election law,” a nod to the fact that Abrams (a far-left Democrat who has refused to acknowledge her own defeat in a 2018 Peach State gubernatorial race) has criticized the commissioner’s decision to abandon Atlanta.
Noting Manfred’s obvious ignorance of the actual particulars of election laws in Georgia (and elsewhere, including some Democrat-dominated states that host MLB teams, like New York, that have policies more restrictive than Georgia’s in many ways), National Review’s editors add that the decision won’t come without unfortunate consequences:
"Perversely, MLB’s decision will hurt the very people the league is purporting to support. The game was going to bring economic activity to Atlanta, which is a majority-black city. It would have meant money for hotel and restaurant employees, hot-dog and T-shirt vendors, and other shift workers. The Atlanta Braves, in an unusual show of disagreement with the league office, pronounced themselves 'deeply disappointed' that 'businesses, employees, and fans in Georgia are the victims of this decision.'”
Then again, who has time to consider the effects on real people when there’s so much virtue to signal?