Monday, October 10, 2016

Media Bias

      A couple of weeks ago, I engaged in a debate with the producers of Nashville Public Television about bias in reporting. My position was -- it is nearly impossible to be unbiased in reporting. Their position was that they go through great lengths to be unbiased. I opening the discussion with the question, “What is the ratio of Democrats to Republicans on their production staff?” 
     They said that they were not permitted to ask that question. I then said, “How do you know that your reporting is unbiased?’ 
     They said they go through great lengths to follow proper journalistic practices to achieve balance in their reporting. I followed with, "What are your metrics to insure balance. It is human nature to follow stories that interests one; thereby unintentionally interjecting bias in reporting.  They were unconvinced."
      I personally believe that NPT/NPR do the best job of popular media in their attempt to offer both sides of a story, but they are not without bias. They will prioritize that which their staff “believes” is rational over the irrational and that which Is factual over that which is not factual. However, I have friends who argue bias when their pet belief, mostly on the political Right side does get support or worst yet gets reported as wrong.
      In past surveys of staff of the popular media repeatedly show bias although may try to be balanced. Then there is the extreme in terms of bias – Fox News. They aren’t even on a mission to be balance in their reporting. What makes this situation scary is the number of people who actually believe Fox News least attempts to be factual. 
      Here is an interesting op-ed on Fox New from a biased source. “The Foxification of American democracy,” by Shadia Drury in Free Inquiry.

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