Leaning to the Left

Writing from a liberal persuasion

Posts Tagged ‘media’

What’s So Wrong About Media Bias

Posted by Beau Winiger on May 31, 2009

Media bias.  Mainstream media is a liberal mouthpiece, Fox News is better named Faux News, MSNBC is in love with Obama.  Who amongst us hasn’t read or heard these charges?  One need go no further than the comment section of an online article on the media to see accusations and slurs thrown rapidly back and forth.  And consistently the person responding to the charge of bias denies any such bias.  The question at hand is simple, why is bias such a dirty word?

Back in the days of the Founding Fathers and the start of this country bias was found in most all of the major newspapers.  The difference between now and then is that said newspapers did not pretend that they were bias free.  It was openly known which side of the political argument was favored.  So while newspaper reports were colored for one side or the other, readers of the paper were under no false assumptions as to just how Fair and Balanced the reporting might be.  Contrast that to present times, when most all of mainstream media works hard to protect the false idea that they are not biased in any manner, and the very idea that they might be biased is absurd.

One quick look at your news source reveals your political leanings to anyone who is interested in the news in the slightest.  Fox News=conservative, MSNBC=liberal, CNN=middle of the road (although some conservatives claim it is still a liberal mouthpiece, but I believe this to be more from nostalgia than any truth), Washington Post=liberal, Washington Times=conservative…and the list can go on and on.  A quick glance at the reporting and stories and (in the case of the 24-hour cable shows) the headline lineup reveals the media bias that are omnipresent in these outlets.  To pretend that they don’t exist is a simple case of lying to the public, presenting a product that does not truly exist. 

Now this doesn’t mean that these outlets don’t report the truth, it simply means that they are skewed in how they present that truth.  The argument that I wish to make is that the people that watch these networks, as well as the networks themselves, should stop pretending that there is no bias.  The real problem with bias in news reporting comes about when any bias is denied.  One need look no further than the Fox News slogan of “Fair and Balanced” to see an example of such denial.  No one with an honest appraisal of news media could conclude that Fox is indeed “balanced” in its news coverage, any more than MSNBC is balanced in its coverage.  So why then continue to pretend that there is absolutely no bias in the reporting? 

The beauty of acknowledged bias in the major news networks is that it will allow people to hear both sides of a political argument.  To see where conservatives are coming from tune into FNC for a bit, and then to see where liberals are coming from switch over to MSNBC.  This will allow you to utilize the strengths of both networks, while hopefully smoothing out the bias in both.  For good measure follow that up with a little bit of research from some of the political websites, and hopefully you will end up with a well-rounded idea of the current political issues.

Unfortunately this rarely happens.  People get their news from just one channel, and they believe that they are receiving the whole truth.  And who can blame them?  These networks advertise themselves as telling the whole balanced truth on issues; they report, and you decide.  If we as a people hope to be at all educated on the issues facing our nation we cannot rely on a select station, on either side of the political aisle, to give us the whole truth.  If you rely only on soundbites to get your news, then in reality you will have no idea what is going on in the world.  A prime and current example of this is the furor over the “racist” statements of Judge Sotomayor.  Listen to just the soundbite and she is a racist, actually read the whole speech and she isn’t.

Currently there is more easily accessible information present than at any other time in our nation’s history.  Take advantage of that fact.  Read and listen to news that you agree with, and then change the dial and listen to some that you do not agree with.  Realize that every news outlet is run by people, and people have their own biases.  If they claim they do not, if they claim they tell the whole story every single time, then they are lying.  It is time for our media to stop trying to claim they are balanced, and instead acknowledge that they shade one way or the other.

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