Misplaced balance is a major problem in today's media. One politician says something completely false, and another points out that the false thing is false — and the media report it as a dispute. Better to point out that the false thing is false.
This election year, Democrats have signaled that they want to make the contraception mandate an issue again. They apparently found the War on Women a useful frame in 2012, and they want to repeat it. But here's the thing: They're not really campaigning on the contraception mandate or the Hobby Lobby ruling. The Democrats are campaigning on a misrepresentation of the contraception mandate and Hobby Lobby.
For instance, here's Rep. Diana DeGette explaining Democrats' legislative efforts on the bill:
“Our main concern is making sure that women are not denied contraceptives while we sit around trying to figure out what to do."
That implies that someone is denying women contraceptives, which isn't true. What's happening is that some employers might offer health insurance that doesn't cover birth control. Yet the New York Times quoted DeGette uncritically without pointing out she was misrepresenting the law.
As the campaign heats up this fall, will the media continue to let the Democrats distort the truth — or will journalists do their jobs?