One thing that's as shameful as the ever-present problem of 'false balance' that the traditional media rams down our throat each day, is the misleading stories they publish which are rooted in the fallacy of 'false equivalence.'
In a nutshell, false equivalence is an exercise where a reporter holds up an action that purports to expose a hypocrisy (or offer a comparison) when there is simply no connection between the two acts -- aside from the thin piece of thread that the reporter has chosen to use to tie them together. It's the Three-card Monte of journalism, creating the illusion of a connection where none exists.
Case-in-point is today's Boston Herald story by Dave Wedge on the custom-made armor-laden presidential limo that is being assembled to protect America's first black president:
President-elect Obama has stressed the need for energy independence - but he’ll be chauffeured around in a gas-guzzling Cadillac SUV limo that could pose a symbolism problem similar to the car controversy that dogged his friend and ally, Gov. Deval Patrick.
Obama’s presidential ride, dubbed “Cadillac One,” will reportedly be a mammoth, custom-made Cadillac limo built like a GMC truck that sits on 19 -inch wheels. The vehicle will also have 5-inch-thick bulletproof windows, cell phone-jamming gear and blast-proof armor...
Obama frequently spoke during the campaign of the need to slash reliance on foreign oil and pledged to put 1 million hybrid vehicles on America’s roads by 2015. He personally drives a Ford Escape Hybrid.
...Several political and automotive blogs have pointed out the vehicle’s fuel inefficiency, including U.S. News and World Report, which called it “the most monstrous Presidential limousine yet.”
“Fuel-efficiency clearly isn’t on the mind of its designers,” the publication wrote on its “Rankings and Reviews” Web site.
What a truly stupid-assed story.
Is Wedge seriously comparing Obama's position on fuel-efficiency with the gas mileage of the vehicle that will transport the leader of the free world and America's first African American president that is being custom made with five-inch thick bullet-proof glass and blast-proof armor? Seriously?
What next, questioning why Obama will live in a mammoth, energy-wasting White House? Or that it takes millions of gallon of water to landscape the White House grounds? Or all the fuel that the behemoth Air Force One consumes? (I could go on and on and on..).
Seriously, at what point does the media's obsessive need to fill newspapers with mindless stories like this truly contradict what journalism is supposed to be all about?
This is one of the more awful examples of 'false equivalence' that I've seen in ages. This is also why newspaper circulation and revenue has been tanking for quite a long time. It's dumb crap like this, masquerading as journalism, that is really dooming traditional media.
Mark Nickolas is the Managing Editor of Political Base, and this story was from his original post, "A Little Media 'False Equivalence' For Your Afternoon"