The limits of media objectivity
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The limits of media objectivity

Paul Holmes

This has little or nothing to do with public relations, except in the way that every public debate has something to do with public relations, but I have never been happier with my decision to return to the UK than I am right now. Viewed from Europe, it seems abundantly clear that one of the two major political parties in the United States has entirely lost its collective mind. Vince Cable, the UK’s (Conservative) business secretary, has warned that global markets are at risk because of “a few right-wing nutters in the American Congress” and the only questionable part of that statement is the view that the number of right-wing nutters involved is “a few.” It’s not; it’s pretty much the entire Republican membership of the House. At a time when unemployment remains above 10 percent and investment in jobs should be the main—arguably, the only—priority, Republicans are offering the country a choice between either the kind of vicious cuts to the social safety net that are the class warfare equivalent of a nuclear strike, or a debt default that would pretty much destroy the world economy. I guess the public relations question is why the majority of the mainstream media continue to cover this story with studied neutrality. Are they too polite to point out that one of the major political parties is being led by sociopaths? Are they so intimidated by decades of accusations concerning “liberal bias” that they are afraid to state the obvious? Are they so in thrall to the idea of “objectivity” that they have to present even the apocalyptic behavior of one party in a carefully neutral “he said, she said” formulation? Is Vince Cable the only one with the courage to state the obvious?
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