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USCCB Blog: Fighting False Balance in the Media

Sr. Mary Ann Walsh writes:

Margaret Sullivan now wears the public editor hat at The New York Times and with a recent ombudsman column took on a huge media problem: False balance aka false equivalency. False balance reports are those that appear fair because they have two sides, except that one side reflects neither knowledge nor a right to speak. Reports on Catholicism are especially vulnerable to false balance, and often it is achieved through manipulation of the name “Catholic” and religious symbols such as veils and Roman collars. More media than The New York Times fall prey to it. Some agenda groups who oppose one or more Catholic teachings, for example, use the name “Catholic,” even when there seems little evidence of Catholics in their ranks and no evidence that they represent Catholic teaching. Catholics for Choice, once known as “Catholics for a Free Choice,” comes to mind.
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