"Balance" is a fetish in news reportage circles -- the idea that both sides of a story must be equally described. In reality, it's a chimera -- one side always gets more airtime, or is otherwise favoured. You pick a moderate on one side, and an extremist on the other, assert that it's a balanced debate -- and you've just shifted the centre ground towards the second faction's territory.
Much has been written recently about the growing disconnect between American and European attitudes on world affairs. Science fiction author Charles Stross has a particularly interesting take on the phenomenon, which he has titled The Manufacture of Dissent. Stross feels that attitudes, for better or worse, are being shaped by biases both hidden and unhidden in the media on both sides of the Atlantic. I can't help but think that he's on to something here. I don't know much about European media (Stross is from Scotland), but I see this kind of thing very definitely playing out here in the United States, where commonplace belief now holds that our news media is relentlessly biased toward the liberal end of the political spectrum, despite all manner of evidence to the contrary.