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Finding Accurate Reporting About Government Shutdown

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(This relates to efforts to find news I can trust)

These days, I rely heavily on media ethics professionals like the folks at Poynter Institute:

"Don't call it an impasse, stalemate, or standoff."

The deal is that the accurate reporting on the standoff is hard to find, but it reflects importantly on the "how do I find news I can trust" issue.

ISBN

[Poynter's new book, re: journalism ethics]

Specifically, this is about "false equivalence," the tendency to fake journalistic objectivity by presenting two sides as equal when the facts compel a different conclusion:

'Specificity is the way to counter false equivalence,' Adair said.

Reporters covering the shutdown must competently describe how it happened. Using vague throwaway terms is misleading, inaccurate and undermines the core journalistic value of seeking the truth."

The good folks at Poynter point to really good reporting going in depth:

To suggest that this current government shutdown is an example of Republicans and Democrats simply unable to reconcile their differences is to ignore the facts of how budget appropriation bills are passed.

Dan Froomkin points this out in an opinion piece for Al Jazeera. James Fallows calls it out in The Atlantic. And Greg Mitchell screams about it in the The Nation.

Okay, it's important to include an update from Jon Stewart:

"If President Obama can make a deal with the most intransigent mullahs in the world but not with House Republicans, maybe he is not the problem."

Remember, I speak as a news consumer. I don't want to "fix the news"; that's up to the professionals.

I say this all the time: I want news I can trust. I know this is not a simple problem. But it starts with journalists using their expertise and authority to accurately describe what is happening, rather than pulling their punches (or mincing their words) in order to appease a political faction.