Friday, February 19, 2016

JEP False Balance Study

Interesting article in the NYT "Gray Matter" of February 12, 2016 by the author of a study in the Journal of Experimental Pychology: Applied on journalistic "false balance" and experiments designed to test its effects and alternative approaches.

I am not a JEP subscriber and did not read the study , but does this research head in the right direction? The false balance journalistic approach derives from a way of thinking that says that presenting the array of facts and interpretations set forth by the experts is the best way for the general public to evaluate the evidence and reach justifiable conclusions. What does that mean in the U.S. where almost any issue worth studying has a political dimension? Does evaluation of scientific research get settled by majority rule or by the quality of the research? If the journalist presents two sides to an issue regardless of the issue, whether or not the supplemental information seems to suggest a majority position, the mere act of presenting two sides casts doubt on the majority position - otherwise, why would you even bring up the minority position? Or so goes the thinking of many a rational reader.

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