Brit Hume – after 23 years with ABC News, 12 years as Washington managing editor with Fox News and more as senior political analyst for Fox – has delivered a Journalism 101 lesson to Lester Holt.
Holt, the NBC anchor, said Tuesday while accepting an award recently, “I think it’s become clear that fairness is overrated.”
Hume responded on Twitter.
“This argument rests on the proposition that the media always know the truth,” he said. “But they don’t, as his own network’s coverage of the bogus – and implausible – Russia collusion tale illustrates. Not to mention the media’s reporting of early Covid 19 advice that turned out wrong.”
Holt’s attitude perhaps is reflected in a recent Gallup poll showing only 9% of Americans have “a great deal” of trust in the media and 60% have no trust or “not very much.”
“The idea that we should always give two sides equal weight and merit does not reflect the world we find ourselves in,” Holt said.
“That the sun sets in the west is a fact. Any contrary view does not deserve our time or attention,” he said. “Decisions to not give unsupported arguments equal time are not a dereliction of journalistic responsibility or some kind of agenda. In fact, it’s just the opposite.”
Hume acknowledged that “if one side says the White House is made of powdered milk, and the other disagrees, we can safely ignore the milk claim.”
“But political disputes are rarely so cut and dried,” he argued. “So we report what both sides are saying and let viewers and readers make up their own minds.”
Obviously if one side says the White House is made of powdered milk, and the other disagrees, we can safely ignore the milk claim. But political disputes are rarely so cut and dried. So we report what both sides are saying and let viewers and readers make up their own minds.
— Brit Hume (@brithume) April 1, 2021
CNN exacerbated the mistrust in media this week with a network writer declaring, “It’s not possible to know a person’s gender identity at birth, and there is no consensus criteria for assigning sex at birth.”
The statement drew widespread criticism, with Matt Margolis at PJ Media noting doctors “have been announcing the sex of newborns in delivery rooms long before the concept of ‘gender identity’ became a thing, and to this day, they still do.”
Holt also excoriated people who want the media to be “an open platform,” pointing out the problem of “misinformation.”
Allowing “anyone to come say whatever they want, especially when issues of public health and safety are at stake, can be quite dangerous,” he said.
On Twitter, Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at New York University, said Holt’s perspective was cause for celebration.
When the chief anchor of one of the major networks agrees that bothsidesing everything is bad practice, critics have finally won a point and they should celebrate. This is from @brianstelter‘s newsletter. pic.twitter.com/Z79lvPuJsV
— Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) March 31, 2021
However, Tim Graham, executive editor of the Media Research Center, said that while Holt doesn’t believe in an open platform for “misinformation,” he readily provides an “open platform” for Hillary Clinton.
Graham recalled Holt “winced” in a 2016 interview with Hillary Clinton at the suggestion she might be seen by someone as dishonest.
Holt asked Clinton, “Do you get your feelings hurt sometimes?”
Lester Holt: We can’t allow an “open platform for misinformation.”
Also Lester: Provides open platform for Hillary, says he “winced” when someone called her dishonest. Asked her “do you get your feelings hurt sometimes?” https://t.co/A8Px4vMBaM
— Tim Graham (@TimJGraham) March 31, 2021
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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.