Accuracy in Media

Salon thinks it’s terribly unfair of Fox News to air “out of context” clips that show President Joe Biden in a negative light. Fox is taking a “cheap and ageist shot” promoting the idea that the president is “mentally impaired.” This is the same Salon that has an entire archives section devoted to making claims about the metal health of Donald Trump when president. Using video clips to diagnose varied psychoses and so on.

No, really, how’s that for chutzpah – or perhaps bias?

“But Fox News used the event to take a cheap and ageist shot at President Joe Biden,” the piece said. “Fox News, according to Rolling Stone’s Ryan Bort, aired clips of Biden and took them ‘out of context’ to promote the conspiracy theory that the president is mentally impaired.”

From Salon’s archives:

“Bandy Lee, the Yale University psychiatrist who edited the bestselling book ‘The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President,’ explained to me in an email conversation that these ‘revelations’ about Trump seem entirely predictable based on his public and other behavior.”

Most of those “diagnoses” come from having watched news clips.

“Based on Donald Trump’s public behavior, some of America and the world’s leading psychologists, psychiatrists and other clinicians have concluded that the president of the United States is mentally unwell. Trump appears, in their opinion, to suffer from malignant narcissism.”

Ditto.

“If you’ve only watched the clips and highlights from Donald Trump’s CPAC speech last Saturday, you’re not getting the full picture of the explosive horror show that is the worsening status of the president’s mental health. For reasons that defy comprehension, I decided to watch the whole thing live.”

Diagnosis by video.

Now, of course, it’s possible that both stories are true. Or that neither is – not the point we want to make. Rather, we want to make that old one of what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Either watching a minute or two of a politician on screen is enough to make a psychiatric diagnosis or it isn’t – this should not be as it is here, a valid technique for one party being observed and not for another. No, not even if you support one party and don’t the other. Well, not if you’re hoping to be doing journalism rather than politics it isn’t.

Salon is important in the progressive news landscape and manages to reach position 64 in the listing of “law and government” sector. It gains some 8.9 million visits a month as it does so.

There’s a name for insisting that one politician must be treated differently from another – politics. There’s also a name for writing about all politicians from the same standpoint, using the same standards of evidence and so on – journalism. Salon isn’t doing very well on trying to convince us all it practices journalism now, is it?




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