Why the BBC should encourage critical thinking rather than promote its so-called impartiality.
First published in December 2020.
The BBC likes to call this “balanced journalism”...
That way, they can invariably debate any topic with two people arguing two totally opposite sides and keep the debate perfectly relevant even though one guest is factually wrong, misleading the audience, spreading fake news, fearmongering, intentionally malicious or immoral, or simply intrinsically heinous.
The BBC want to offer its audience the chance to hear the voices of those who think the unthinkable and those who might say the unsayable... for the only reason that they... exist online, on social media.
BECAUSE they exist online and on social media does not mean those voices MUST be given a platform on mainstream media. On the contrary... Why debate with far-right politicians, anti-abortion movements, anti-migrant protesters, or pro-gun activists, for instance? Where is the limit to the kind of people you can invite to debate on national TV? Is there even a limit at all? Why not invite abusers or murderers to debate too? Where is the limit?
It is not taking side or be biased that to decide not to give them a platform before a national audience. If an interviewee’s views are obviously and well-known against democracy and freedom, racist or xenophobic, filled with hate towards a group of people, why air them at all? (especially if the interviewer is not allowed by the BBC Charter to interject or challenge them with facts – which would be seen by right-wing papers and libertarians as “preconceptions or bias”.)
Instead, it is about bringing to your audience relevant arguments, fact-based analyses, evidence-based opinions, fact-checking material a journalist can use (if needed) to challenge and test their guests. The BBC should encourage critical thinking rather than promote its so-called impartiality. It would mean that people would then, INDEED, “have access to the information they need to make an informed choice.”
Misinformation, fake news, online bullying, and conspiracy theories are a poison in our society, driven by big interests. That virus spreads, evolves, brainwashes, and eventually takes control of people’s minds and hearts, using (abusing) emotions to hit people where it hurts: allowing intellectual laziness and annihilating all forms of empathy.
Fact-based, public interest journalism is the ONLY vaccine to fight this virus.🔷
J.N. PAQUET, Editor of PMP Magazine.