I’ve taken on the potentially misguided task of refuting liberal media bias claims by partisan hacks over the past few months. I’ve tried to make it clear that I can accept bias in individual media outlets, but for every liberal bias, there’s a corresponding conservative bias. My argument, even when poorly stated, is that bias is bad, regardless of its blue or red tint. The facts are what matters. Anyone who claims otherwise isn’t interested in learning, just propagandizing.
Perusing through the Internets (I’m making the Ha Ha there, people) this morning, I stumbled upon an interesting article relating to the perpetual nonsense that is the media bias argument. Consider:
Pardon me for being either ignorant or naive, but isn’t a reporter’s first responsibility the finding–and publishing–of the truth? And isn’t it at least possible that this drive “to make the world better” is at the core of the media’s current malaise? My point here is that if one goes into a job with a zeal to transform the world, instead of a zeal to tell the world’s stories, isn’t it more likely that one would search for and “find” those stories that serve to support and reinforce one’s own prejudices?
I’m not abandoning my underlying assumption that bad news sells (“if it bleeds, it leads”), but yeah, I think that paragraph highlights a contributing factor. Report on facts with a view of how the world “needs” to be and the reporting will slant to a bias. That’s as true for conservative media outlets as it is for liberal media outlets. Any journalistic notion disappears when facts become soapbox-support.
I may be reaching here, but I consider myself sufficiently intelligent to understand what’s going on. I don’t care about non-stories. Blather on about how America is run by imperialistic, capitalist pigs and I’ll turn away from your news. Shock me with the latest missing pretty blonde and I’ll turn away from your news. Give me the facts because that’s what I want. Then, because media is a business, sell me an extension (news) product, such as interviews, features, or even something radical with a blogging mentality. Give me a reason to stay tuned. Call-in radio shows succeed for more reasons than just the opportunity for listeners to shout “Baba Booey” over the phone.
However, make certain that there’s a difference between the two. The first, I can get anywhere, or better stated, elsewhere. The rest is the part that gets my brain going and makes me a (semi-) participant in the process. Treat me as though I’m intelligent and I might not hate media outlets. Educate me without pandering to a lowest common denominator mentality, or what some blow-hard thinks I should think, I might even stay tuned.
(Hat tip: Donklephant)