Lester Holt: Poster Child for Media Bias

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We have another demonstration of MSM bias. When on March 30, 2021, NBC News anchor Lester Holt received the Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism from Washington State University, he argued “That fairness is overrated.”

Holt remarked:

“The idea that we should always give two sides equal weight and merit does not reflect the world we find ourselves in… Decisions to not give unsupported arguments equal time are not a dereliction of journalistic responsibility or some kind of agenda. In fact, it’s just the opposite, Providing an open platform for misinformation, for anyone to come say whatever they want, especially when issues of public health and safety are at stake, can be quite dangerous. Our duty is to be fair to the truth.”

By adding that final sentence, his rationale, I’m certain, was to justify what he does during his nightly “news” broadcasts. In an effort to legitimize his comments, Holt said, “That the sun sets in the west is a fact. Any contrary view does not deserve our time or attention.” He attempts to minimize his neglect of any point contrary to his own by trivializing the issue. It reminds me of Kamala Harris’ attempt to laugh off the fact she hasn’t visited the southern border. Ironically, she was being interviewed by Lester Holt.

Holt said, “Decisions to not give unsupported arguments equal time are not a dereliction of journalistic responsibility or some kind of agenda.” Sounds noble. But he neglected to specify who decides if an argument is unsupported. Can we assume Holt and the MSM do?

So what we have is a hypocrite who says “…we don’t need to hear both sides to define truth: Fairness is overrated.” I must conclude that any idea, concept, or point that doesn’t agree with his version of the truth isn’t worthy of his or the MSLM’s fair treatment and can summarily be dismissed. Holt is a manifestation of what today’s MSLM constantly does: views itself as a neutral arbiter of the truth.

This illustrates that Holt has a bad case of Naive Realism. He views the world through his perspective, assumes he has a correct representation of it in his mind, that anyone who disagrees with him is incorrect. It also means he thinks every rational person shares his opinion. If they don’t, he considers them benighted, biased, or wrong. Perhaps this is why he didn’t pursue Kamala Harris when she responded with her ridiculous cackle and nonanswer to his query about why she hadn’t gone to the border. He “knew” that her reason was correct, therefore no further inquiry was required.

Holt said the media’s job is to “…help our audiences understand what our role is in a healthy democracy.” What Holt meant was that the media should be the definers of truth, should take its version of the truth and attempt to make it conventional wisdom. Holt’s comments represent a fundamental change in the MSM’s perception of itself and its role in today’s society. It is not the MSM’s job to take sides on any controversy because, in its view, the effort impedes judgment, biases its search for the truth. The MSM’s “problem” is that most of its journalists believe they are the only valid definers of truth. This conceit leads them to assume that their truth is the truth. The media’s job is not to determine or define what the truth is.

Consider this from Murrow (March 9, 1954):

“If we confuse dissent with disloyalty — if we deny the right of the individual to be wrong, unpopular, eccentric or unorthodox… [it] costs us the confidence of men and women who aspire to that freedom and independence of which we speak and for which our ancestors fought.”

Holt rejected the very concept of fairness espoused by the journalist for whom the award was named. Holt did not do his homework, just opened his mouth. Fortunately for us, unfortunately for Holt, his bias and true opinion fell out.

As Bill O’Reilly wrote, “NBC has an entire network devoted to propaganda — MSNBC. That’s not a newsgathering operation. So, although Lester is correct in theory, his own network doesn’t practice what he is preaching. Especially when it comes to Donald Trump!”

This is ironic, particularly in view of Holt’s remark, “Our duty is to be fair to the truth.” It seems that Snopes, that paragon of (its version of the) truth, rated FALSE the statement, “Lester Holt urged journalists to ditch objectivity.” It offered this (exonerating) context:

“In Holt’s ‘fairness is overrated’ remark, context showed that he was referencing the rising dangers of misinformation online, and that always giving equal weight to two sides of an issue can be dangerous if those sides aren’t rooted in facts. He also warned of confusing opinion-oriented cable programming with newscasts that honor journalistic integrity and look to the facts.”

Well, duh! That is a classic example of ‘narrowly defining the truth to avoid any consequences,’ something the MSLM often does. Note also that Snopes’ “defense” of Holt includes a reference to “the rising dangers of misinformation online.” Online? From where did that come? How is it relevant to what Holt does every evening? Is this an example of Snopes trying to define the truth by reading Holt’s mind? Is Snopes trying to spread propaganda?

Is Lester Holt representative of the MSLM? Its continuing attitude that fairness is overrated, that reporting opinions is okay, that both sides of an issue are not required to determine the truth suggests so. He and the MSLM long ago forfeited whatever credibility they had because they destroyed it by reporting opinions, or as CNN’s Don Lemon does, by reporting ‘point of view.’

Image: Gage Skidmore

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