Thursday, June 24, 2004

The danger of balanced reports

In this article (I read it on Salon, but it's on the AP wire), there's a particularly disturbing quote most of the way down:

The battle against the disease has stalled in the face of resistance to immunization programs in Nigeria's heavily Muslim Kano state.

Some Islamic leaders claimed that the vaccines were part of a U.S.-led plot to spread infertility and AIDS among African Muslims. Nigerian federal officials and the United Nations deny the claims.

Why is this disturbing (the article is on Polio outbreaks in sub-Saharan Africa)? Well, for starters, it actually makes the claim of a US plot sound almost worth dismissing with the simple sentence about denial that follows the accusation. I know that the job of a reporter is to report both sides of an issue, but sometimes one side is so obviously idiotic that to report it without pointing out the stupidity behind it gives unwarranted legitimacy to the morons.

For further proof of this, see the GW Bush campaign from 2000. It got them elected.

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