Accuracy in Media

Oh, we’ve got both kinds of politics here, progressive and liberal. Although that line in Blues Brothers is meant to be a joke, not the guide to journalism that Teen Vogue uses it as. For they’ve decided to treat us to a round up of views on how terrible Trump is as a person, a politician and for the future of the American democracy. 

The thing is their spread across political viewpoints reaches all the way from Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) to Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) with a detour for ideological diversity through the views of Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.). It’s not just that these are all Democrats, it’s that they’re quite obviously from the same extreme end of the political spectrum. Even by the standards of their own party, they’re at one extreme of the spectrum. 

This is not that balance and the search for the center ground that American journalism is famed for now, is it? The thing is that balance and center has long been a figleaf, a myth. This particular piece just is an extreme version of what happens to us every day.

Unsurprisingly we end up with what might fairly be called unbalanced views – only Democrats are democrats, Republicans are a “big lie” cult and so on. The fight between fascism and democracy gets a mention too – we can guess without bothering to read how that one goes. 

Teen Vogue claims to be “educating the influencers of tomorrow” and it may well be doing that. It gains some 5 million visits a month with an audience near entirely composed of teenage girls. They need to do better than this in their reporting.

“And Trump and the Republican Party right now are the party of fascists. “ may well be something that a particular member of Congress believes but if you’re doing journalism or reporting – rather than party partisan propaganda – then after their quote it’s usual to bring in someone who is at least marginally less extreme on the issue. Even to mention that this is a disputed view possibly. 

The excuse that liberal and progressive are the two and only kinds of politics doesn’t, in fact, work.

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