Date of Award

Spring 4-28-2023

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Communication and Digital Studies

Department Chair or Program Director

Rao, Anand

First Advisor

Crosby, Emily

Major or Concentration

Communication and Digital Studies


In recent years, a term called “bothsidesism” has come into public use as both a critique of journalists participating in false balance and as an expectation that journalists should cover all sides of an issue—no matter if a side’s claims are unfounded. I argue that bothsidesism is problematic because 1) bothsidesism is a fallacious rhetorical tactic that minimizes objective fact; 2) the term “bothsidesism” and the act of practicing it both reinforce bipartisan thought, which stymies political action; 3) false balance is at odds with the role of a journalist; and 4) false balance is perpetuated by comment sections. I offer alternative tactics for reporting and directions for future research. This project was sponsored by Dr. Emily Crosby for COMM 460: Seminar in Digital Rhetoric.