NBC News anchor: 'Fairness is overrated' in journalism

Lester Holt

Only 9% of Americans have “a great deal” of trust in the media to report news “fully, accurately, and fairly,” while 60% say they have no trust at all or “not very much,” according to Gallup.

One reason for that lack of trust was illustrated this week by NBC News anchor Lester Holt.

“I think it’s become clear that fairness is overrated,” he said while accepting the Edward R. Murrow Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism on Tuesday, the Washington Examiner reported.

“The idea that we should always give two sides equal weight and merit does not reflect the world we find ourselves in,” he said.

“That the sun sets in the west is a fact. Any contrary view does not deserve our time or attention,” Holt 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.”

What happens, though, when a news outlet states that the sun sets in the east?

That, in essence, is what CNN did this week when a network writer declared, “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.

The Examiner noted  were Holts remarks were highlighted by CNN as a “sharp critique of bothsidesism.”

On Twitter, Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at New York University, said Holt’s perspective was cause for celebration.

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?”

The Examiner said an Axios poll found just 46% of people trust traditional news media, and a majority of Americans agree that “journalists and reporters are purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations.”

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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