August 23, 2014

Mediaite reporter Joe Concha just made the case for everything that's wrong with broadcast cable news while appearing on Sean Hannity's show. During a bitch session with Sean about Al Sharpton and his involvement in Ferguson, they switched gears for a second to an overall "analysis" (and I use the term loosely) of priorities in the news business.

In response to Hannity's question about Sharpton and whether he's been "responsible," Concha offered his understanding of cable news priorities. "There is first the less important aspect, which is the business side. And in this case, you're not getting an ROI, which is return on investment on Al Sharpton being there," Concha replied.

Concha then went on to enumerate the second and presumably more important aspect.

"More importantly we'll look at integrity...Every host's job is to present two sides of every story and let the audience come to their own conclusions."

Wait, what? What is he talking about here, specifically? Either you're doing an opinion show like Hannity does every damn night or you're doing a news broadcast. If you're doing opinion, then both sides aren't required, nor can the audience sort it out because it's not fact-based. It's opinion.

If, on the other hand, you're doing a news broadcast, you have a duty to the facts. This is where so much journalism fails. In their zeal to present "both sides" they put on ridiculous stories like "death panels," in order to appear as though there's no bias.

Example: Jim Hoft's clumsy effort to fabricate facts this week cried out for journalists to actually get some real facts from real sources, on the record. That never happened, leaving the door wide open for a Battle of the Anonymous Sources, where Hannity/Hoft/Fox News' anonymous sources say Darren Wilson suffered a "blowout of his left orbital socket" while CNN's anonymous sources say that's absolutely untrue.

But Concha wants the audience to sort it out. Yeah. Pick your trusted news and go with that, but really, until there's something more concrete, no one knows. I tend to disbelieve Fox because Hoft felt the need to invent evidence to support his story, and Hoft is a known liar who makes things up to drive traffic into his site, which Drudge cheerfully does for him.

None of this sorts out how it came to pass that Sean Hannity, of all people, would hold himself up as somehow more qualified than Al Sharpton when it comes to conflicts of interest like heading up your own charitable organization while hosting television and radio.

If I were going to answer that kind of a question from Sean Hannity, I think I would simply say that Rev Al is transparent about his associations, where Hannity is not. That's a 'both sides' situation any audience can sort out.

So tell me. Do you agree or disagree with Concha? Is news nothing more than tossing out the talking points and letting the audience decide?

Can you help us out?

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