Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The bias behind a bias

I'm sick and tired of people accusing various media outlets of having a "liberal bias" or a "conservative bias."

I'm tired of conservatives using the argument that news stations or newspapers operate under a bias. In this way they seek to invalidate the opinions of those who oppose them rather than engage in a constructive argument. It's true that Washington Post has more liberal opinions ono their editorial section but most of the staff writers and journalists are professional reporters who operate under a set of standards. I don't think people appreciate how good of a job the vast majority of reporters in this world do at abiding by those standards. The way conservatives portray the news media who disagrees with them, they'd have us believe that people take on careers in journalism out of a desire to massively influence public policy through distortions of the truth. In fact, the people doing those are mostly conservative radio pundits. There are probably a few biased liberal pundits too.

The true bias comes from belonging to a party. Liberal and conservative are entirely abstract words that only make sense in the context of American politics within this certain period of American history. They don't really mean anything in absolute terms, but they mean a lot to a lot of people. It ties them to a certain set of principles to fight for, so that's their bias and distortion.

The set of principles I like to abide by is what's good for America and me as a voter. I belong to the "good government" party if that exists. I also am all for the "truth" party. I'd like honest information, and the people who get closest to that are reporters. They're trained in truth-seeking and it's true, us journalists have biases but those have to do with meeting deadlines, making their leads abnormally flashy, making boring people interesting. Maybe in some cases, that produces a distortion, I'll admit but that's so much smaller than the pundits will have you believe.

The truth is that if the vast majority of news agencies are saying things like "War on Iraq is bad" and the pundits are arguing that their all distorted, then pundits and everyone else who cries foul, needs to accept the possibility that the only thing that's distorted is the truth in relation to their own views. I'm not even arguing for or against the war on Iraq. I'm arguing against the innocent smearing of a journalist's name by a pundit for political gain.


Anonymous said...

You couldn't be more wrong; the media is full of liberal bias. If you were to view the issue objectively, and read publications from all sides, you would see that.

If you want to see a sample of media bias exposed, watch these videos:


halcyon_11 said...

Here here!!! Anonymous can hide behind a blanket statement and two videos when Fox News and hundreds of conservative talk radio hosts fill the air canstantly.

Much of the news media is just about getting as many people to watch or read or listen as they can to please sponsors and advertisers. All bias is a bias to attention, or should we forget the news opening every single day with the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

No, it's not even. It's all about who makes the biggest scandal, who grabs the biggest headline, and who can get more people's attention, with a few exceptions on both sides of the political spectrum.