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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Rosen Praised Fournier

Jay Rosen is a leading critic of what he calls "he said/she said" journalism (he seems to have coined the phrase). In a recent post, he askes for help finding egregious examples. I use the name "Ballance" for this lazy or cowardly refusal to report relevant facts if they tend to undermine one side (in my experience my impression has always invariably been that reporters refrain from noting relevant facts which are inconvenient to Republicans or conservatives). This is based on a wonderful example (this link is dead for some reason hmmmm and the purely accidental pun noted by Chris Cilizza (who explained "Ballance was unnecessarily included for, frankly, balance."). On April 12 2009, back in one of his first posts on the topic. Rosen noted one hopeful sign. He found an opponent of rigid ideological centrism which ignores all evidence which might undermine the view that truth justice and the American way is exactly halfway between the two major parties.
The plan was to move “from its signature neutral and detached tone” to a more aggressive style of newswriting that bureau chief Ron Fournier calls “cutting through the clutter.”
Yep radical centrism was challenged by Ron Fournier. Oh my.

This post is a partial answer to a question asked by DougJ at Balloon Juice "Are there any actual Ron Fournier fans? " There may or may not be, but it sure seems that on April 12 2009, Jay Rosen was a Ron Fournier fan !!!

Now Fournier is considered the very epitome of Ballance and false equivalence and rigid radical centrism.

I think this is not fair. Back in 2008 it was noted that Fournier had been considered for a job with the McCain campaign (and may have considered taking it) and that his coverage was very helpful to McCain (including attacks on Romney as well as on Obama). I think he is a partisan Republican who exploits Ballance as a useful convention, because it enables him to ignore evidence that Republicans are wrong in cases where the balance of evidence supports that conclusion (which in my opinion include all important areas of dispute between the major parties).

The fact that he has taken radically opposite positions on the desirability of trying to appear neutral and detached convinces me that he has no firm view on neutrality, centrism, balance, Ballance or any such thing and that he merely uses any rhetorical tool at hand to help the Republican party.

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