NBC News anchor Lester Holt received heavy criticism for his acceptance speech after being given an award for his journalistic work Tuesday.
In particular, he was being taken to task for a statement that “fairness is overrated.”
“I think it’s become clear that fairness is overrated. The idea that we should always give two sides equal weight and merit does not reflect the world we find ourselves in,” Holt said during his acceptance speech that night for the Edward R. Murrow Award for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism.
“Before you run off and tweet that headline, let me explain a bit,” he continued. “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.”
The “false equivalency” trope that Holt echoed was deployed by media news outlets and leftist think-tanks during and after the 2016 election to justify their revolt over representing both sides equally due to their loathing of the Republican candidate and his ideas.
Holt admitted in the speech that his statement might “re-enforce negative sentiment” held by some about the media.
“Providing an open platform for misinformation for anyone to come and say whatever they want, especially when issues of public health and safety are at stake can be quite dangerous,” Holt said.
“Our duty is to be fair to the truth,” he added. “… We need to hear our leaders’ views, their policies and reasoning … but we have to stand ready to push back and call out falsehoods.”
In addition to Trump’s criticism and push-back on the media, many have expressed increasing outrage over its obsequious refusal to hold the Democratic Biden administration accountable for its policy failures, as revealed recently in Biden’s first presidential press conference.
A political reporter for Holt’s network, NBC News, tweeted his praise for Biden’s widely panned performance, prompting a skeptical response.
— DiploDoug (@dafactour1) March 25, 2021
Holt, meanwhile, tried to preempt the social-media feud over his statement, but Twitter users reacted to his comments.
Nightly News anchor @LesterHoltNBC accepts Edward R. Murrow Award and proclaims “fairness is overrated,” insists it’s not necessary to “always give two sides equal weight and merit” pic.twitter.com/IwI6yA7DAF
— Kyle Drennen (@kjdrennen) March 31, 2021
— Jason Miller (@JasonMillerinDC) April 1, 2021
Others on Twitter jumped to Holt’s defense.
Clearly no one commenting actually watched the video including the daily caller. Lester holt is right. We don’t need to give a microphone to people to spread dangerous lies and falsehoods. Journalism is about reporting facts and holding leaders accountable. https://t.co/2oeJ2ARS67
— Michaela Watkins (@michaelaWat) April 1, 2021
Headline USA’s Ben Sellers contributed to this report.