I don’t want to totally lump reporters and pundits in together, right? It’s kind of venial sins versus cardinal sins basically — right? — where reporting is very, very important and journalism is very, very important, and there are some things about campaign coverage that I might critique. Whereas punditry is fundamentally useless.
This election year, so much of the broadcast networks, their cable counterparts, and the major establishment print media are out of control with a deliberate and unmistakable leftist agenda. To put it bluntly: you are rigging this election and taking sides in order to pre-determine the outcome. In the quarter century since the Media Research Center was established to document liberal media bias, there has never been a more brazen and complete attempt by the liberal so-called “news” media to decide the outcome of an election.
So begins “An Open Letter to the Biased News Media” from the Media Research Center co-signed by, among others, conservative media stalwarts Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Lars Larson and Rusty Humphries.
Bonus: New York Times media columnist David Carr thinks, perhaps, conservatives protest too much, noting how the top circulation newspaper in the country is the Wall Street Journal and its conservative editorial board, conservative radio crushes liberal haven NPR and Fox News runs circles around its cable bedfellows.
Then again, as Carr writes: “Of course, given that I am pointing out these disconnects in The New York Times, it will be seen as confirming what conservatives already know: that I went to the dark chambers where we cook up the conspiracy, met with my betters to receive my marching orders and then set about playing my small role as a cog in the manufacture of liberal consent. (Memo to headquarters: the Plan is in very high effect).”
The horror I feel when I imagine Newt assuming a position of responsibility can give way to melancholia if I contemplate the prospect of life without the feisty, aging smurf.
If the mass media is dominated by a few corporations, the risk for bias and interference with editorial independence increases.
Thomas Hammarberg, Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe. Public service media needed to strengthen pluralism.
Media pluralism is necessary for the development of informed societies where different voices can be heard. However, in several European countries there is little genuine media freedom and therefore limited space for pluralism. Independent television and radio channels are denied licences, and critical newspapers are prevented from buying newsprint or distributing their papers.
Other state controls are more discrete. By buying advertising space solely in “loyal” media, governments can signal to businesses to follow their lead, which means that independent media are effectively boycotted. The increase in bureaucratic harassment and administrative discrimination is also of concern.
Of course, a million blogs aside, mainstream media consolidation is accelerating globally. And, of course, with deference to our Italian friends, let’s not forget that Silvio Berlusconi was the largest shareholder of the largest television station while prime minister.
America is becoming more polarized in part because of Google’s algorithms which show us only relevant search results, which in turn means that we see only what we agree with – also referred to as confirmation bias. So the problem of polarization, also described brilliantly in Cass Sunstein’s book Going to Extremes: How Like Minds Unite and Divide is increasing because of technology’s push toward relevancy – giving us what we want and what we agree with…
…It is not the editorials and the opinion pieces that are causing the polarization, it is the entire spectrum of more sophisticated technology and the instant availability of diverse information and opinion that allows us, even motivates us, to seek out only those facts, information, and opinions that agree with our view of the world and our own multiple biases.
[T]here is a difference between bias and propaganda. I don’t doubt for a milisecond - and never have - that NPR and the NYT have often profound biases to the liberal side of the equation. I’ve long argued that they should admit it and move on. But I don’t get the sense from watching PBS or listening to NPR that they take it as their guiding mission to push for a particular political party or rig the news to inflame a political party’s base. I think they still try to aim for fairness and the truth. I truly don’t believe, with a few exceptions that this is the case with FNC [Fox News Channel]. I think it’s a political operation using the guise of “journalism” to advance a cause and a party; I think NPR is a news organization with a political bias.
In Britain, we feel that it’s better to know where people are coming from and then to make up your own mind about what you think, because the truth is nobody can be completely impartial and objective. I mean the idea [that] The New York Times doesn’t have a political point of view — it’s ridiculous. It does, but it twists itself into knots in an attempt to pretend that it doesn’t.