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Houston Matters

Is It Truly Necessary To Hear From All Sides Of An Issue?

Are there instances where society can agree we don’t need to hear from a certain perspective on an issue because perhaps it’s too extreme or not based in fact?


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Ethics in journalism is a touchy topic these days, with accusations of bias or "fake news" levied at media companies at a near constant rate.

Some accuse Fox News of being too conservative, while others accuse MSNBC or NPR of being too liberal.

So, is it possible to indeed strike a balance and present both sides of a given issue? And even further than that, are both sides always warranted? How do you decide if that's the case? Who gets to decide if that's the case?

For instance, should people who believe the Earth is flat — going against an empirical scientific consensus — be given the benefit of sharing their side? Should people or groups who espouse violent, racist, or extreme views that most of society rejects be heard from in our public discourse? And, if so, when?

In the audio above, we tackle these questions with Dani Madrid-Morales and Summer Harlow, who are both journalism ethics professors at the University of Houston, Elizabeth Jensen, who’s the public editor for NPR, and Mike McGuff, a local media blogger and critic.