Home > media > The Difference Between Partisanship and Agreement

The Difference Between Partisanship and Agreement

Almost everyone advocating a particular political viewpoint will get labeled as a partisan at some point. I often take the progressive side of many arguments and so, of course, I’ve heard I am a partisan Democrat. Amusingly, in college I heard from time-to-time that I was a Republican hack because I supported free trade and opposed affirmative action.

These types of criticisms can be very frustrating, but in a world where so many people are partisan hacks I can understand the impulse. I’m not going to lay out an elaborate how-to guide on differentiating partisanship and genuine agreement, but a good way to distinguish the two is by determining the level of honesty and originality.

Is the argument purposefully deceitful? Is it just rehashed from a political source without criticism or context? Media that represents an honest ideological perspective is appropriate; partisan media that acts as propaganda is shameful. Rachel Maddow is an honest left-wing commentator. Al Sharpton, on the same network, as a policy refuses to criticize the president… he’s a partisan hack. The latest example comes from The Weekly Standard and Fox News. They both decided to post the same misleading graph (tweaked to make seem original) they got from the Republican Party:

(via The Monkey Cage)

Ok, so we have one side of the ledger: Our supposed watchdog media uncritically disseminating graphs from one of our major political parties. Yet to be true partisan hackery it needs to be dishonest too. Is it?

As I was researching this I realized that Media Matters is making a similar point to me and helpfully drew the graph to scale:

It’s bad enough when the press gives hacks a platform; it’s a whole new low when they are the hacks.

Categories: media Tags: ,
  1. CDs
    September 11, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    So is is 100,000 people receiving welfare or 1 million??

    • September 11, 2012 at 10:55 pm

      The numbers are the same on all graphs (100million+). The last graph is “in thousands” – you can see that from the parenthetical reference on the right side. The first 2 graphs are misleading not for their inaccuracy, but from how they present the scale by starting at 94M instead of zero. It makes the recent jump seem out of historical character, when it is not.

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