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1 Apr, 2021 14:17

‘Fairness is overrated’: NBC’s Lester Holt incites Twitter mob with provocative monologue about ‘journalistic responsibility’

‘Fairness is overrated’: NBC’s Lester Holt incites Twitter mob with provocative monologue about ‘journalistic responsibility’

NBC anchor Lester Holt has stirred up some serious social media drama after arguing that the media has no obligation to give two sides to each story.

In the speech he gave while accepting the Edward R. Murrow Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism, Holt criticized the notion that journalists must provide equal time to opposing viewpoints on an issue, insisting that some viewpoints are unworthy of airtime.

“I think it’s become clearer that fairness is overrated,” the host of NBC’s Nightly News remarked. “Before you run off and tweet that headline, let me explain a bit. The idea that we should always give two sides equal weight and merit does not reflect the world we find ourselves in. That the sun sets in the west is a fact. Any contrary view does not deserve our time or attention.”

He further argued that providing a platform for “misinformation,” especially when discussing issues related to public health and safety, can be dangerous, adding: “Our duty is to be fair to the truth.” Apparently anticipating criticisms of his stance, he stressed that refusing to cover “unsupported arguments” is not proof of some sort of agenda, and, in fact, “just the opposite.”

The monologue triggered howls among those who view the mainstream media with suspicion.

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“I have a feeling that what is considered ‘true’ in this context is whatever NBC decides is true at any given moment,” remarked one commenter.

Others accused Holt of advocating for unapologetic prejudice in journalism.

Several replies took a more nuanced view, noting that providing necessary context for hot button issues is not television’s strong suit, due to time constraints. But instead of completely ignoring alleged “disinformation,” journalists should be willing to take the time to carefully examine and deconstruct it.

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While many were up in arms over Holt’s comments, there were plenty of Twitter users who applauded his words.

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