Monday’s Mtg: Is the News Media Too Biased To Do Its Job?

Is the news media too biased to do its job?  The last time we talked about bias in the news was in 2011, and what I got out of it was that the exact nature and extent of bias is hard to pin down.  Unfairness can be a crime of commission or omission and either deliberate or unconscious.  Some of it is not explicitly political or ideological, but results from prejudices of class, culture, religiosity (or lack of it), or the pursuit of ratings or profit.  Worse, most journalists and their bosses adhere to an unrealistic cult of neutrality – the “view from nowhere” – to use the parlance of my favorite (read) media analyst.  So, bias in the mainstream news media (MSM, as the bloggers say) is hard to see and measure and seldom acknowledged.  Yet, we all claim to see it all the time!

I’ve got a lot of good links this week, some of which I have not studied in detail yet.  So, as a first approximation, I think a good way to structure our meeting would be to take each part of our question in turn.

  • What is the “news media” these days?
  • What is “bias?”  How do we know it’s there, whether it’s deliberate or unconscious, and its causes? 
  • What constitutes the MSM “doing its job?” Is it to be balanced ideologically?  To investigate and inform us of the truth?  To please its audiences and sponsors?  Etc.

I’m being a little vague on details here since I have not done much research yet.  By Monday night I’ll be able to make some brief remarks framing the issue, then we can talk.

HOMEWORK QUESTION!!

  1. My opening question Monday night will be:  Using one or two sentences, what is the news media’s job; i.e., its appropriate role in society?

LINKS –  

Criticisms of the MSM’s Biases

In (partial) defense of the News Media –

Next Week:  Assessing Lyndon Johnson’s Presidency.

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One response

  1. “Bias” there may be, though I prefer to call it a point of view. But at least we have several points of view. We don’t generally send journalists to prison (except for failure to reveal their sources to our national security state!)–one has to keep some perspective. Look at China and other countries with a controlled press!

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