Mbodell, on 2011-August-19, 19:33, said:
That's annoying, but what is worse IMO is the pattern of:
#1. There is some issue in the news.
#2. To report on the issue in a fair and impartial way here are two people to represent both sides of the issue.
#3. The news reporters/anchors do not report facts and just give the two people a soap box and don't correct them. On the "good" shows the hosts facilitate discussions. On the "bad" shows the hosts facilitate shouting matches.
Nobody cares if one of the people is actually representing the facts or the mainstream scientific community and the other is a lunatic. Nobody notices if both people ignore a large segment of the population because they are unrepresented by the usual D-R split. Nobody cares if the issue is actually complex and has more than two sides.
Report the facts. Don't let people get away with lies, distorted and misleading statements, or other propaganda.
There was an instance of this many years ago that I often wish I had kept the reference for.
The subject was capital punishment. A radio host had two guests presenting their analyses of the benefits, if any, to society. Each one had his/her statistics, often from the same data, with wildly different statistical summaries. One would say, for example, that there was a 50% reduction in crime and the other would say that it was 2 or 3 %. The host just let them scream on, as if it were "You say to-may-toe, I say to-mah-toe" and just no way to decide who was slinging it. Probably both. Obviously the numbers represented very different calculations from the same data, and a few pointed questions could have cleared things up For example, 50% of what? 3% of what? Citing percentages without saying what they are a percentage of should be, perhaps, a capital offense.
Anyway, I agree wholeheartedly that just getting two points of view, "and now we will hear from the pro-alien abduction camp", is not serious journalism.