Ryan Cooper of Political Animal (9/8/12) called attention to a column by Washington Post‘s Ezra Klein (8/30/12) that I think really sums up the corporate media’s problem with false balance. After arguing at length that “quite simply, the Romney campaign isn’t adhering to the minimum standards required for a real policy conversation,” Klein wraps up:
I don’t like that conclusion. It doesn’t look “fair” when you say that. We’ve been conditioned to want to give both sides relatively equal praise and blame, and the fact of the matter is, I would like to give both sides relatively equal praise and blame. I’d personally feel better if our coverage didn’t look so lopsided. But first the campaigns have to be relatively equal. So far in this campaign, you can look fair, or you can be fair, but you can’t be both.
And ask yourself: If you’re a profit-seeking outfit, which do you prefer, the appearance of fairness or the inner peace that comes with knowing you’ve done the right thing?
Note that Klein sees himself and is seen as a progressive–and yet he finds himself in that column dismayed that he can’t find enough factually true arguments in Paul Ryan’s speech. It’s hard to imagine Jennifer Rubin, the Post‘s conservative blogger, being worried that her commentary might appear “lopsided.”