Monday, October 30, 2006

Media Watch's not so subtle slope

Media Watch resorts to a Slippery Slope argument by implication in order defend itself from accusations of bias. First there's this entry about Media Watch's future:

...under our new editorial policies, we will be looking for further diversity of voices - ensuring that the ABC is the town square where debate can flourish and different voices can be heard. I've encouraged the Director of Television to work with the Media Watch team to review their format and content next year to ensure there is more opportunity for debate and discussion around contentious and important issues. It is a popular program, has a loyal following and I hope has a long future at the ABC.

The entry after this on the Media Watch website is about the new rules at the ABC. A not so subtle attempt to scare us with a Slippery Slope:

The ABC already has comprehensive editorial policies and many aspects won't change.

But the revised rules give extra emphasis to existing requirements for impartiality and balance.

And some ABC broadcasters are concerned about what that could mean in practice.

…The Science Show with Robyn Williams and The Health Report with Norman Swan.

Two of the ABC's most respected and popular programs.

Norman Swan says that many advocates of alternative medicine consider his work to be biased.

…The Health Report favours evidence-based medicine but health issues are highly contentious and hotly debated.

Will health be a matter of opinion under the new guidelines?

…Creationists have lobbied hard to have their claims for creation science and intelligent design considered a legitimate scientific alternative to evolution.

So should they be given a place on The Science Show?

…Both Robyn Williams and Norman Swan hope that the ABC will resist the pressure from vocal lobby groups.

Implying that the ABC expecting impartial and balanced commentary on the media by Media Watch, might lead to creation science being given equal time on The Science Show, as (say) evolution, is a joke. Unlike Media Watch, a show hosted by a pontificating pseudo-journalist, The Science Show and The Health Report are already impartial and balanced. Both these shows are dealing with science and therefore won't discuss non-science. Media Watch, however, discusses the media. It should be just as hard on the "left" as it is on the "right". Maybe Media Watch should just stick to what it used to be good for, spotting plagiarism and typos.