Wis[s]e Words

Ceci n'est pas un blog

Striving for a false balance

The Guardian launched a new blog last week, putting all their commenters and more into one big groupblog. Now, a week later, Georgina Henry, the blog's editor, comments on how the first week went. Nothing much controversial, apart from the following two paragraphs:

The variety and range has, I hope, made the blog extremely lively, while testing our small team, the technology and the design to the limits. But throwing open the doors to hundreds of contributors has raised a host of interesting new issues for us as editors. Balance is one. Did it matter that the first few blogs that arrived as the Jericho prison siege started to break on the news were all sharply critical of Israel? In one way no: they were the bloggers that posted first and that's what they wanted to say. But in another way, yes - it's more interesting to read different views, and allowing a range of opinion is an important principle for the Guardian and Observer. Tone is another. Did it matter that the language used by some of those bloggers was harsh and uncompromising - a tone you might suggest they modified if they were writing for the paper?

We have recruited people to blog across the political spectrum on Israel/Palestine, as in other areas (although we need to constantly find other interesting voices). On this occasion we intervened with the randomness of the blog by commissioning other views and linking to pieces from within Israel. We left the tone alone: the stridency that distinguishes a lot of blogging from newspaper journalism is often what makes it so compelling.

This is the basic mistake the newsmedia are still making, striving for a false sense of balance, a desire to appear unbiased, even when the facts are clearly favouring one side over the other. There are plenty of people willing to propagandise for Israel and anything that is not clearly pro-Israel already has a hard time getting published, so why should there be this attempt at "balance", when the facts are so clearly against Israel in this case?

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Posted by Martin Wisse at 7:26AM EST [ Permalink] End of post.

No War on Iran

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