Lamenting so-called misinformation, NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt is winning applause from the blue-check brigade by claiming that fairness in media coverage “is overrated.”
Holt expressed this we-know-better view in a virtual speech while accepting a journalism honor, theEdward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award.
“I think it’s become clear that fairness is overrated,” Holt asserted, in part, in prepared remarks. “Before you run with or tweet that headline, let me explain a bit. The idea that we should always give two sides equal weight and merit does not reflect the world we find ourselves in. That the sun sets in the west is a fact. Any contrary view does not deserve our time or attention.
“I know that recent events assure that you won’t have to look far to find more current and relevant examples. I think you get my point. Decisions to not give unsupported arguments equal time are not a dereliction of journalistic responsibility or some kind of agenda; in fact, it’s just the opposite.”
“Providing an open platform for misinformation, for anyone to come say whatever they want, especially when issues of public health and safety are at stake, can be quite dangerous. Our duty is to be fair to the truth; holding those in power accountable is at the core of our function and responsibility…we have to stand ready to push back and call out falsehoods.”
Holt, who makes his living reading words on teleprompter likely written by someone else on a show with declining market share, also bemoaned the “unprecedented attacks on the press.”
This may or may not be an allusion to President Trump branding many networks and publishers as purveyors of fake news.
Nightly News anchor @LesterHoltNBC accepts Edward R. Murrow Award and proclaims "fairness is overrated," insists it's not necessary to "always give two sides equal weight and merit" pic.twitter.com/IwI6yA7DAF
— Kyle Drennen (@kjdrennen) March 31, 2021
While legacy media outlets became an extremely influential part of the social fabric owing to the First Amendment, they — along with Big Tech, the Democrats, and various global interests — seem less and less enamored with freedom of speech these days and more inclined toward censorship.
Journalism in its traditional reporting function incorporates multiple points of view, but critics would contend that it is now largely a profession of liberal activists with elitist tendencies.
Moreover, that the corporate media ever will hold the Biden administration accountable to the same degree as the Trump administration is a stretch. So far, it doesn’t look promising.
In addition to apparently taking a swipe at those who might question inconsistent pronouncements from public health officials during the COVID pandemic, Holt’s remarks seem evocative of the corporate media’s rush-to-judgment mantra of no “widespread” fraud in Election 2020 or that anyone, including a scientist, expressing alternative climate change views is often dismissed as a “denier.”
Reacting to the above portion of Holt’s speech, Cornell Law professor and Legal Insurrection website founder William Jacobson told Fox News that “In a better world in which the mainstream major media had a history of fairness and non-partisanship, Holt’s point that journalism inherently involves filtering information might make sense.
“This is not such a better world, this is a world in which the mainstream major media wears its partisanship on its sleeve, manipulating the news cycle to the advantage of Democrats. In the real world, Holt’s advice simply justifies media political bias.”
Against that backdrop, award-winning independent investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson, previously of CBS News, has compiled a list of the media mistakes in the Trump era that now total 152.
Critics of Holt’s point of view also note that he may have forgotten that he got promoted as a result of misinformation from predecessor Brian Williams. “Holt replaced Brian Williams as anchor of ‘NBC Nightly News’ in 2015 after Williams admitted to lying about an Iraq War story he’d told for years. He was suspended without pay for six months but eventually returned as an anchor for MSNBC, NBC’s left-wing cable affiliate,” Fox News recalled.
Social media users outside of the liberal echo chamber may be implying the Holt himself is “overrated” and lacks self-awareness. Here is a sampling:
Lester Holt wants America to blindly trust the one-sided story that NBC news tells them.
How can America be certain that NBC isn’t spreading misinformation on their platform? DATELINE would be a boring show if it didn’t present all sides & all truths. You can do better Lester.
— This World is Crazy! (@ThisWorldisCra4) April 1, 2021
You mean like Covington Kids, Lester? Russian Collusion was 3 years of misinformation dropping from your own mouth, wasn’t it?
— George Bova (@GeorgeBova) March 31, 2021
It’s like Lester thinks people don’t know why Brian Williams was fired and he got the job.
This is so dumb.
— Jack Coolidge (@JCCoolidge1923) March 31, 2021
This you bro…?https://t.co/l1arx4DhXJ
— Rj (@RjsAmerica) March 31, 2021
It’s tough to hold “those in power accountable” when on your knees kissing the ass of those in power.
— NoDickinson4Congress (@nodickison2014) April 1, 2021
@lesterholtnbc is certainly letting his arrogance shine. So journalists are only propagandists who push their “truth”. Sounds right with journalism today.
— Traci Spillman (@SIGK1) March 31, 2021
And because of that statement , he should not accept it. Murrow would be ashamed at the current state of Journalism.
— doeh (@daryst1) April 1, 2021
Giving one side is just propagandizing, Lester, which pretty much is what we expect of NBC, et al.
— President Dr. Jim Dandy Eagle (@LDreeniatnuom) April 1, 2021
What is wrong with lester??? So fairness and telling both sides of a story is now bad?? How sad and pathetic news has become
— Caren (@Carebea20037556) March 31, 2021
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