Friday, February 1, 2008

You Sheep Not Only Listened But Followed

"The media coverage told,...not only what to think, but also how to think,..."

- Tammy Boyce, researcher in media studies at Cardiff University, commenting on coverage of the MMR/autism anti-vaccine controversy for Spiked!

The column continues:

"She shows how the journalistic commitment to balance, from telling both sides of the story, to presenting a controversy in terms of a contest between two positions of more or less equivalent substance, did not serve the public well,...

This sort of ritualised balance is ‘not always the most effective or honest way of reporting a story’. Thus an objective account,...‘would not have been balanced, because, in reality, the evidence [is not always] balanced’. An objective account would have been obliged to indicate that, on the one hand, there was a vast amount of evidence confirming,...[something] while on the other, there was much speculation, but very little evidence, the misleading impression of an equivalence of evidence, and creating ‘a charade of objectivity’. She also found ‘under-balancing’, where partisan journalists simply reported one side of the story.

There was a similar problem of balancing sources. Journalists and newspapers,...often counterposed,...experts to [believers],...confusing expertise and experience, and elevating emotion over reason in their presentation of the debate."

Pay attention, Believers, because she's singing your song,...

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