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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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