We have all heard the cries that the Main-Stream Media (MSM) has a pro-liberal, anti-conservative bias. Members of the MSM dispute this, righteous indignation inflaming their passions. I am convinced that they truly are unable to see any bias in their coverage – from daily events to political commentary. Yet, I am equally convince that the bias exists – and that it is very, very pronounced.
‘Bias’ is such a difficult thing to prove – yet it is easy to spot. It might not be ‘what’ is written, but ‘how’. It may not be the words a newsanchor speaks, but how they tilt their head, square or slump their shoulders, how steadily they hold their gaze.
I notice these things quite a bit – being an Aspie, I do not understand body-language and facial expressions naturally. Therefore, I have had to learn the nuances of their meanings – and am accustomed to ‘search and interpret’ them. Where others might get a ‘feeling’ or simply be swayed, I have to actually go through the conscious process of interpreting the manner, affect and body language. So, yes, I do see it – and it drives me crazy when people deny it is there!
NewsBusters had an article recently, which confirmed what I have been thinking: it is not a ‘conspiracy’ among media members, nor are they bribed, or anything ‘fun’ like that. The righteous indignation most members of the MSM feel does not ring false. Something else is going on. Here is a part of the conversation between two journalists, quoted in that article:
HARWOOD: Well, some of – I get what you’re saying, and look, I think that people who talk about bias in the mainstream press, left of center bias, are not imagining things.
HARWOOD: It has to do with the kind of people who go into journalism, okay? So I’m not arguing with that general notion. I think those of us in journalism have to do our best to try to present the most objective view we can of what we have –
KERNAN: I agree.
HARWOOD: But everybody brings their own filter into it.
This is an honest admission that most of the people who wish to enter the profession of journalism are, for reasons unknown, more likely to hold left-of-centre views than otherwise. But, surely, once in journalism school, the professors will have taught their young recruits how to recognize their own bias, and how to overcome it?
Well, not in my experience…. I went to a University which was known for excellence in two disciplines: journalism and physics. I studied the latter. Yet, I did have some interactions with the school of journalism…
When one of my Math exams was located in the Journalism buildings, some friends joked I did not have to study for it- it was ‘bound to be cancelled’. Regardless, I went to the exam – only to find the whole building locked up, metal grills blocking all entrances: someone had phoned in a bomb threat. I got upset – a bomb threat?!? That was not a laughing matter! Yet, other students tried to comfort me: “This is the Journalism building – the profs would fail them if they did not phone in one or two bomb threats!”
So, who exactly are these professors of journalism?
Here, demographics play a very important role… The journalism departments are (or, at least, while I was in University, they were) run by baby-boomers and ex-hippies: the same people who fought against the Vietnam war by staging student protests and who learned the wrong lesson about ‘class struggle': instead of learning (and teaching) to oppose ‘the establishent’, they learned to fight the political views which defined ‘the establishment’ of their youth.
These people are still trying to fight McCathy!
These professors even go so far as to teach that ‘responsible journalism’ is one which provides the information in such a way as to lead their audience to the ‘correct’ opinion! In other words, instead of teaching ‘impartial journalism’ which reports the facts and allows the audience to form its own conclusions, they are teaching young journalists that producing propaganda is ‘responsible journalism’! No wonder most of today’s journalists are unable to discern their own bias, or see manipulative reporting as inappropriate!
This is, by no means, an American phenomenon: it is worldwide… with the added dimension that people outside of the US add a very unmistakable ‘anti-American’ twist. Please, indulge me here for just a little bit: American or not, we are all bombarded by the coverage of the US elections. So, I could not help but notice….
Both Barack Obama’s father, and step-father (who influenced him as he grew up) were employed by oil companies. I do not think there is anything wrong with the fact itself – I am only asking if you think that most people would be left unaware of this fact had this candidate been a Republican?
Which brings me to Mr. Bush – perhaps one of the least liked politicians today. His popularity ratings today are – according to the most recent polls – somewhere between 35% and 30%. So, how do the American people see their media?
Among unaffiliated voters, 49% say reporters are trying to hurt Palin, while 32% say their coverage is unbiased. Only five percent (5%) say reporters are trying to help her.
Only 32% of ‘unaffiliated’ Americans think the media does not have left-wing bias! This, by coincidence, is about the same percentage as approves of Bush as President.
This ought to make them think…