Monday, January 24, 2005

What's Mark Hyman Afraid Of?

Mark Hyman often touts the fact that he offers viewer feedback every week. He’s especially keen to note this when Sinclair Broadcasting and “The Point” come under fire for their far-right bias.

True, Hyman reads viewer comments once a week, although as we’ve noted before, he chooses the evening which consistently has the lowest viewership (Saturday) on which to do it.

But more importantly, Hyman’s handpicked snippets from the “mailbag” rarely address the content of any of his editorials. Rather, they are the briefest of soundbites, almost always consisting of personal judgments of Hyman himself. Typical excerpts include comments from viewers calling Hyman a “Nazi” or “propagandist” who’s part of a “conspiracy,” while others say Hyman’s doing a “great job” countering the “liberal media,” and that he “rocks.”

So while Hyman’s “mailbag” commentaries usually don’t present views on the actual issues discussed in his commentaries (and almost never cogent arguments on the other side), they do offer Hyman a chance to style himself as a stalwart defender of traditional values while portraying those who might take issue with him as name-calling paranoids.

We can’t help but wonder if Hyman is simply afraid of acknowledging that there might be thoughtful arguments on the other side of the issues he takes on. Is he nervous that his own arguments won’t stand up to scrutiny or rebuttal? If not, why doesn’t he include more excerpts that actually offer differing opinions on specific issues? Why doesn’t he include comments that don’t consist entirely of name-calling or empty platitudes? Why not, either in a commentary or on the Newscentral website, include a link to Media Matters, which offers a rebuttal to “The Point” once or twice a week?

For that matter, Mr. Hyman, why not mention this website on one of your mailbag segments or on If you honestly believe in airing opposing views, why not actually offer opposing views? If you’re confident in the validity of your arguments, you have nothing to worry about in offering your audience access to opposing views.

But we’re not holding our breath.

And that’s The Counterpoint.


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