NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt delivered the keynote address Tuesday night at the 45th Murrow Symposium, in which he accepted the Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism. In his acceptance remarks, the NBC News anchor delivered a sharp and important critique of “bothsidesism.”
“The idea that we should always give two sides equal weight and merit does not reflect the world we find ourselves in,” Holt said. “That the sun sets in the west is a fact. Any contrary view does not deserve our time or attention.”
He added: “Decisions to not give unsupported arguments equal time are not a dereliction of journalistic responsibility or some kind of agenda. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Providing an open platform for misinformation, for anyone to come say whatever they want, especially when issues of public health and safety are at stake, can be quite dangerous. Our duty is to be fair to the truth. Holding those in power accountable is at the core of our function and responsibility. We need to hear our leader’s views, their policies and reasoning. It’s really important, but we have to stand ready to push back and call-out falsehoods.”
Here’s Holt accepting the Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award, an honor given by Washington State University.
Below are Holt’s full acceptance remarks.