Balance is needed to inform the public

Saturday, September 1, 2018

I came into the office this morning, like so many others, and started my daily reading of newspapers and web sites to catch up on the overnight happenings.

Thus is my morning routine.

One of the first headlines that captured my attention was the ďrevelationĒ that the Presidentís disapproval rating was at an all-time high.

Given the daily drumbeat of opposition to this administration from the national media, I was not surprised.

But lo and behold, another headline in another publication trumpeted the Presidentís highest approval rating since taking office.


If you sit back and think about it, both of these headlines are potentially accurate. If people who were previously undecided on the accomplishments of this administration finally took a position, perhaps itís possible for both of the stories to be factually correct.

But thatís not the point.

How are we ó the American public ó to understand or accept as fact when we see or hear such dramatically different analyses?

I donít want to mount a continual ongoing beat down of the national media but itís hard not to take that approach.

We all depend on an honest and factual accounting of the events of the day and to understand those events, we depend on the national media to provide that information.

Todayís dueling example is a perfect illustration.

Both conservative and liberal outlets are accurate in their reporting of the Trump approval and disapproval numbers.

And as confusing as this may be, itís still accurate and factual.

The difference, of course, is the presentation.

Liberal outlets lead with the disapproval numbers to push their position and the same applies to the conservative outlets.

But letís make the assumption ó and itís an accurate one ó that millions of voters accept as fact what they see, hear or read.

And if that news source constantly reports only the negative, then thatís all we hear. And thatís what we believe.

The problem with our current news culture is not accuracy as much as it is balance.

Facts are facts but you can paint widely differing positions based on the balance you provide.

Truthfully this massive lack of balance is nothing necessarily new. But in our current environment, balance is missing like never before.

Indeed, we have philosophical differences in our country today. We differ not only on the direction of this nation but on the process to get to that destination.

Whatís different today is the striking lack of balance in informing the American public.

Given this, itís no wonder we are such a divided nation.

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