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Adam Davidson
I've been thinking a lot about journalists and both-sidism and I think there's a typology of different causes. - The High Church of Both Sides. This is how I was trained and is common at and many other media outlets. It is a true ideology that believes ... 1/
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Adam Davidson Oct 29
Replying to @NPR @nytimes
...that journalists are at their best when they ignore their own beliefs/preferences/etc and are able to fairly cover the "other side." It is a powerful and helpful tool in normal times, a discipline that forces you to look outside your own biases. But it has no crisis mode... 2/
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Adam Davidson Oct 29
Replying to @NPR @nytimes and 2 others
...no ability to function when there is only one clear side. Practitioners, typically, reprint the nonsense statements of the "other side" uncritically because the whole ideology requires it. Great talk on this with and 3/
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Adam Davidson Oct 29
Replying to @NPR @nytimes and 2 others
There are other forms of both-sidism that are less honorable. - I don't know nothing so I go with both. This is very typical in economics and other technical spheres, but also in headlines and stories written by GA reporters. Brookings says this.../Heritage says that ... 4/
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Adam Davidson Oct 29
Replying to @NPR @nytimes and 2 others
...this comes from the practice in journalism of having non-experts write about things they don't understand. That's a management problem that is endemic. - Weasel word training. Often, reporters do see only one valid side. But they know--for unclear reasons articulate--... 5/
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Adam Davidson Oct 29
Replying to @NPR @nytimes and 2 others
...that they are not allowed to. So, we see "critics say..." or we see the story structured to make a clear point without ever making the point. It creates the theater of both-sides with one-sided content and confuses readers. 6/
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Adam Davidson Oct 29
Replying to @adamdavidson
Both-sidism operates at every level. From the highest and most noble aspirations and core identity of journalists to the most cowardly, trying to solve a quick problem on deadline level. It is shoved into the brains of newbies and a source of enormous pride for veterans. 7/
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Adam Davidson Oct 29
Replying to @adamdavidson
Both-sidism determines who gets hired, who gets promoted or fired, how editorial and business decisions are made. It is so fundamental that there is no mechanism, no language to truly critique it from within. And little ability to adjust when it makes no sense. 8/
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Adam Davidson Oct 29
Replying to @adamdavidson
We journalists need to do something truly hard. We have to look at our core principles. I don't think we need to abandon them. I still think both-sidism is a good practice in normal times (if there ever will be normal times again). But they are destructive now. 9/
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Adam Davidson Oct 29
Replying to @NPR @nytimes
They aren't serving our readers, our country, ourselves. All that criticism is easy for me to make. Solutions are harder and I truly don't know what I would do as head of or Though I know I wouldn't do a lot of what they are doing. 10/end
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Heidi Jon Schmidt Oct 29
This is what I'm thinking too-- that it's a flaw in training to begin with. Of course you want to represent the views of various sides (there are usually more than 2!), but you are really trying to reveal a whole truth to the reader, not a false equivalency.
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Erika Oct 29
The fact that ‘more than two sides’ gets simplified to ‘the two most diametrically opposed sides’ contributes to the problem. Like in climate change - the majority of the argument is centered around how-much how-fast but it’s widely presented as is-it-real.
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Sombra Larga Oct 29
Climate change is a great example of the dangerous weakness in the “two sides to every story” approach. This most urgent issue is complex and solutions will require consideration of divergent thinking, but THE ISSUE ITSELF should be clearly called across all media.
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Sombra Larga Oct 29
Agreed.
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Miss Bananafish Oct 29
Thanks for calling out on this. I stopped listening to it in 2016 because I couldn’t listen to Steve Edwards throw another softball question to right-wingers.
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Jeff Corbin Oct 29
I likewise never listen to any more, for the same reasons.
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Brian Daly Oct 29
I still routinely find myself screaming at the radio in my car. Very normal behavior I know.
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SpeakOutNow16 Oct 29
Replying to @adamdavidson @NPR and 2 others
These are thoughtful comments and all media members need to review the norms which aren’t up to the times. Simpler fix than addressing “both sides-ism” could start today: accurate headlines and words. Per Trump not a populist. “Neo-fascist” is the term
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Left Class Reductionists Are Shitlibs Oct 29
You mean this Paul Krugman?, who says nice things about neo-fascists within our own government? Keep in mind, Krugman is a supporter of neoliberalism, a distinct function of fascism as a capitalistic means of government ideology.
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Chris Sasiadek Oct 29
I saw this tweet more as a “Big Lebowski” tribute. “Nihilists! say what you will about the tenets of National Socialism, dude, but at least it’s an ethos.”
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