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Dan Abrams Bemoans Cable News For Constant 'Both-Siderism'

Dan Abrams admits both-siderism is bad for the integrity of the news, but the fact-checking chyrons are pretty awesome.

Dan Abrams, a face often seen on MSNBC a few years ago, is the founder of Mediaite and worked for NBC News as a legal analyst for over fifteen years. In addition to practicing law, Abrams is a writer who also has web properties known as the Abrams Media Network. (Which) serves close to 15 million unique visitors per month.

Dan noticed some inconvenient truths about how news is covered in the Cable TV business. His frank excoriation of the both sides do it assertions was a nice change from the usual make-believe world of the Left and the Right are equally to blame. Stelter discussed the primary-season and the obsession with the Trump rallies, back when they were a novelty. Now that both parties have their candidates, the coverage has to appear more even, and that's challenging for the networks who pretend to seem unbiased. The ratings cannot drive the coverage, because the only events we'd see are Trump's god-awful rallies.

ABRAMS: I think the other thing is that now that it's not a Republican Convention and it's a Democrat vs. a Republican, I think the media feels more of an obligation that, if they're going to cover a Trump rally live, that means they're going to have to cover the Clinton rally live.

And let's be honest. The Clinton rallies just aren't as interesting from a TV perspective. So they have to make tough choices as when to cover him and when not to.

Abrams explains that he tried, while at MSNBC to specify when a story was opinion versus hard news. He admits that some stations simply do not do that. *cough cough Fox*

ABRAMS: But I think that the good cable news networks are pretty clear about when they're doing opinion and when they're not.


STELTER: Speaking of FOX, I haven't seen FOX do this fact-checking thing, but I have seen CNN and MSNBC do it.

Is this a new development in cable news, Dan, to be fact-checking in real time?

ABRAMS: Well, it's a new development to be doing it in the Chyrons.

A few of the real-time chyron fact-checks

ABRAMS: We have had fact-checking in real time, but it's in the Chyrons. And, look, I say bravo to these networks for doing it. Why? Because I think one of the great sins of cable news is that we tend to make everything two-sided. We ask questions like some say, or critics will say, except that the answer is, it's just not true.

The Drumpf people are always playing the victim, especially from the big, bad mainstream media. They deny the reality of polls as inherently biased. Yet, the two campaigns could not be more disparate. One seems as if it's marching towards war in an apocalyptic way. The other is discussing issues and solutions while dealing with a press that has been downright hostile. I think who's who is obvious here.

The words of Aldous Huxley come to mind when we attempt to think of both sides as being equal, and covering them as such is not only disingenuous, it's dangerous. Huxley explained how a society based exclusively on military might, the power that the GOP nominee seems to adulate, is antithetical to a democratic society. It could easily become the 3rd Reich, if we fail to heed history's painful lessons.

'A democracy which makes or even effectively prepares for modern, scientific war must necessarily cease to be democratic. No country can be really well prepared for modern war unless it is governed by a tyrant, at the head of a highly trained and perfectly obedient bureaucracy.'

Both sides don't, and it provides a moment of sanity to hear someone say that out loud, finally.

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