Sunday, June 27, 2004

Fair and Balanced

One of the criticisms of Moore's movie is that it lacks balance. The more amusing version of this is that it isn't really a documentary because documentaries are "objective," presumably in the way the press imagines that it is objective. See Myers, Lisa for this one. But, ignoring that rather hilarious ignorance of the history of documentary cinema, let's take on the basic idea that Moore should be more balanced like the media is. How balanced are they? From FAIR:

Seventy-six percent of all sources were current or former officials, leaving little room for independent and grassroots views. Similarly, 75 percent of U.S. sources (199/267) were current or former officials.

At a time when 61 percent of U.S. respondents were telling pollsters that more time was needed for diplomacy and inspections (2/6/03), only 6 percent of U.S. sources on the four networks were skeptics regarding the need for war.

Sources affiliated with anti-war activism were nearly non-existent. On the four networks combined, just three of 393 sources were identified as being affiliated with anti-war activism-- less than 1 percent. Just one of 267 U.S. sources was affiliated with anti-war activism-- less than half a percent.


Overall, 68 sources, or 17 percent of the total on-camera sources, represented skeptical or critical positions on the U.S.'s war policy-- ranging from Baghdad officials to people who had concerns about the timing of the Bush administration's war plans. The percentage of skeptical sources ranged from 21 percent at PBS (22 of 106) to 14 percent at NBC (18 of 125). ABC (16 of 92) and CBS (12 of 70) each had 17 percent skeptics.