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Media bias

September 15, 2009

There was an article in the Washington Post yesterday (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/13/AR2009091303265.html)  stating that ~63% o f Americans now believe the media is biased, which is the “highest level of skepticism recorded since 1985, when this study of public perceptions of the media was first done.”  My issue isn’t that the public thinks the media is biased, it’s that the public thinks the media shouldn’t be biased.  For the majority of our history, media outlets, while independent entities, would not only openly advocate for one political party, but often newspapers would be set up specifically by politicians in an attempt to sway public opinion.  All of this was done with the understanding that each of these different newspaper outlets carried its own biases that they proudly displayed.  I’m not sure when American’s got the idea that media isn’t supposed to be biased – I can only assume it had to do with the rise of cable news and the grouping of small media outlets into large ones, thereby increasing the need to be perceived as ‘middle of the road’ in order to attract the maximum number of viewers/readers.  As a result, there is now the belief that all media outlets are supposed to be devoid of bias, which is an impossible goal.  Instead of worrying about perceived bias, why don’t media outlets simply declare their bias and be done with it?  I suppose it comes down to money – no business would purposely alienate groups of customers by declaring a bias.  Of course, none of this matters since blogs will one day take over the world and all the information we receive will be highly biased, which would be fine except no one today knows how to discern bias and they tend to believe anything they read (think death panels).  In other words, I think we’re screwed.

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One comment

  1. Since the first day humans were able to “write” (or communicate in any manner), there has been bias. There’s no escape. As far as how these biases originate, it has always been perceived that those in control are the ones who write history.

    Nowadays, bias sells. Just ask Fox News.



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