Thursday, August 25, 2005

Press bias: having the conversation

Okay, back to Jay Rosen. And for those who think the whole thing to be a tempest in a teapot, I respectfully disagree; because it really comes down to some larger issues about the role bias might play in the press, whether that subject is even worth discussing, and, if so, what might be done about the phenomenon.

In Rosen's new thread on the subject--the opening of which, as I've said before, was a good idea--he provides some links to previous posts of his. I have not read them all, but I have just read the two essays on press bias.

In Rosen's original Austin Bay/Rollback post, he most definitely should have linked to these two essays of his if he didn't want the "bias" argument to dominate the comments, especially since he should have foreseen that his Austin Bay post would attract people who are not ordinarily readers of Pressthink and hadn't read his previous discourses on the subject of press bias. If somehow he failed to see this coming at the beginning, he certainly should have understood what was going on by the time of his first comment. The professor was trying to give a seminar with required reading first, and he didn't supply the reading assignments and then got angry at the class.

The tone of his remarks was both impenetrable and profoundly condescending. Neither furthers the aim of having a productive conversation, nor does cutting off comments do so--it ends it.

So I'd request that he abandon the use of the word "dumb" in this context as being needlessly inflammatory and insulting hyperbole. It's not dumb to have what Rosen calls "the bias discourse," although in some ways he is very correct in the point I believe he is actually trying to make, which is that it is often unproductive or even counterproductive. But there's nothing dumb about those who are annoyed at what they see as evidence of press bias in a press that so often claims to be objective, and who want to talk about this--even if such arguments (like most in politics, or perhaps even in life!) don't tend to change many hearts and minds, or to lead to solutions, at least right away.

I have always been upfront about my position on the press--at least, I've tried to be. But I'll attempt to clarify it here and expand on it, and in the process make a stab at responding to some of the questions Rosen's poses in his two "bias" articles.

Keeping in mind that "you can't always get what you want":

I want an objective press, but since I recognize it's an impossible dream, humans being what they are, I accept that the press will always be biased.

If that be so, then I want that bias to be represented by reporters from both sides (using here, for the sake of simplicity, the somewhat misleading dichotomy of left/right) who are roughly equal in number; but I recognize that this will never happen without some sort of crazy unenforceable and undesirable quota system for reporters.

If that be so, then I want journalists and the papers they write for to drop their obviously false claim of objectivity and to be upfront about their general political affiliations, much as many bloggers are.

And I also want journalists on all sides to labor mightily to achieve far more accuracy than many of them display at the moment in their reporting--specifically, perhaps most especially, that they strive to quote people correctly and to fact-check more rigorously.

I also want members of the press to respond more vigorously when they are found to be in error, printing retractions and corrections that are prominently featured and highlighted.

I don't think I tend to use the word "bias" much anyway when critiquing the press--although I certainly haven't gone back and reread my pieces on the subject to make sure, so I could be incorrect on that. My impression is that I tend to use the word "distortions" to describe those things I see in the press that I dislike. I believe that the vast majority of what is usually called press "bias" constitutes such distortions, and that they are an unconscious result of the political viewpoint of the journalist skewing his/her selection of the facts, a process that is inevitable and can occur on both sides. I think, however, that the more scrupulously a journalist is aware of this phenomenon and tries to be as evenhanded as possible (knowing of course that complete evenhandedness is impossible), the better. I think that the journalists who succeed the best in this endeavor (IMHO, of course) are the ones I most admire. This success would include the ability to admit when one is wrong, and not to defensively cling to the original distortions and try to justify them.

I think most people who are angry at what they call press bias (and I believe it is still the best shorthand term around for the phenomenon; I would submit "press distortion" to replace it, but somehow I don't think it will catch on) are especially angry at the uses the press makes of techniques such as truncated quotes that misrepresent the actual point of the speaker, mistakes of fact, subtly shaded shaping of opinion in the choice of "unbiased" [sic] words such as "militant" instead of "terrorist" when the latter would seem more appropriate in many cases, neglecting to provide background and context, the overuse of the anonymous source (see this for my take on solutions to this problem), and opinions stated as fact without backup or documentation (that is, editorializing presented as news). I don't like either side using these techniques, and their use is a big part of whatever "bias" does exist in the press, and it's the thing that makes most people who criticize the press hopping mad.

I believe that most journalists believe themselves to be honest brokers who are striving for objectivity. But most of them need to be made far more aware of the ways in which the above (and other) tools creep into their work and cause the charges of bias to stick. Bias is very rarely conscious in a journalist (although on occasion it is). That's what often makes the protestations of most journalists that they are not biased, and their anger at the charge, take on so much strength. Journalists need to look longer and harder at what is going on here--even if they think they've already looked at it long and hard--and try to correct it as best they can, knowing that the corrections will always be flawed and inadequate. But at least improvement is possible, if the will is there and the effort is made.

So I don't believe--to try to answer Jay's question couched in his own words--that "wanting from journalists what is also impossible for journalists" (i.e. objectivity) is unfair, although it may indeed seem to be a confused and oxymoronic request when stated that way. I would rephrase the request, however, in the following way: wanting what is impossible doesn't mean we shouldn't strive for the closest approximation to it, as long as we realize the ideal is not achievable in absolute terms. We humans always strive for things that are impossible: truth, justice, fair play, perfect love, etc. But the impossibility of their achievement has nothing to do with the fact that these goals are always worth pursuing, and that in fact the effort towards those goals may help us come closer and closer to them. That they recede forever from our grasp is actually true and worthy of stating and acknowledging, but it is largely irrelevant to the fact that they must be pursued nevertheless, and that every millimeter closer we can get to them is still an achievement.

(ADDENDUM: A question Rosen posed in the comments section of the new thread goes as follows:

If you had the opportunity to advise Jim Lehrer just before he moderated and asked questions at a make or break Presidential debate, in addition to telling him to be careful not to take sides, would you say something like, "and remember this, Jim, you are not an actor in this event." And if you did say something like that, would it be true?

My answer? I would say to Lehrer, "Remember, Jim, you are an actor in this event whether you like it or not and whether you intend it or not. But the performance for which you should be striving is to be as evenhanded as possible in your manner and your questions, in order to try to prevent, to the best of your ability, your actions tilting the results in either direction."]

37 Comments:

At 7:22 AM, August 25, 2005, Blogger Larry said...

I largely agree with this, neo. I do think, though, that there is a kind of false "objectivity" that has cropped up in these days of would-be global media, and that's used as a cover, ironically, for an adversarial or even hostile approach to one's own nation or culture. This, for example, is at least partly what's behind the bizarre aversion to calling a terrorist a terrorist. My point (which I made on Rosen's blog as well) is that there are cultural limits to objectivity even as an ideal, and news media need should acknowledge and accept that, both to their public and to themselves.

 
At 8:24 AM, August 25, 2005, Blogger camojack said...

I've taken to calling the "mainstream" media the outdated media; personally, I can't wait until they go the way of the Dodo...

 
At 8:59 AM, August 25, 2005, Anonymous Joseph Samuel Friedman said...

Neo-neocon,

Some more great work on your part. The MSM like Academia is definitely influenced by a culture created and fed by group-think due to a lack of diversity in the ranks. It is tempting to desire to manipulate this through something akin to ideological quotas, but the truth is the market will force them to change. The printed press and network television are being challenged by cable and the internet and the effects are setting in. As someone who runs a business I must just say that the fact newspapers and networks keep such an imbalanced ideological crew is astounding, fairness will never be achieved by any single person, it takes a balanced crew that checks and challenges each other. Because the MSM avoids such at this point I am inclined to believe that manipulating public opinion is more their goal then reporting facts.

I must say that this is not unique to the left, it is to be human, but It is a fact the left is the group at the moment beaching most egregiously such principles, most conservatives attempting to influence public debate are "out of the closet" so to speak and in commentary etc. I suspect the left will have to "hit bottom" before they get it. I remember a time when Democrats held huge double digit advantages is Party affiliation, will it take them getting on the other end of that spectrum to learn? As mad as I am at my former compadres on the left I sure hope not, a good loyal opposition is healthy for society, but it probably will.

 
At 9:14 AM, August 25, 2005, Blogger Goesh said...

It seems self-evident to me the distrust of MSM, given the number of readers that register on Blog sites. The Belmont Club meter reads 7.9 million. That's impressive. This Blog slowly grows too. People are getting from Blogs what they can't from MSM. I catch some headlines and look to the Blogs for analysis/commentary. I suppose in time the same criticism will be applied to Blogs, since they are a Public forum and trasmit information.

 
At 10:18 AM, August 25, 2005, Blogger troutsky said...

So is no one over here going to make a spirited defense of Pat Robertson? Whats the matter with you people, talking press bias when the Democratization of Venezuela needs some ardent supporters. You just going to leave him twisting in the wind?

 
At 11:31 AM, August 25, 2005, Blogger Goesh said...

Ok Troutsky - probably 50% of the American Public is not even aware of Robertson's remarks. Probably 70% of the people that are, don't give a darn either way. (gas prices are too high don't ya' know) There is probably an even split of the 30% remaining with those who agree with what he said and those who don't. This hardly constitutes a landslide of opinion. It will fade as rapidly as it hit the spot light.

The fact that he has free speech allowed him in the first place to make the statements he did. That is the bottom line of it all. He exercised his right to free speech.
If he had been the Chaplain for the Senate, the Left would have some grounds for serious complaints, but he is not. From a practical point of view, we don't like fatwas so I suppose some folks wonder about one of our religious leaders issing a 'sort-of' fatwa, albeit he does not hold a Government position. Since our enemies don't distinguish between church and state, it is rational they would assume the US Government will act accordingly and attempt to assassinate the guy. So, from a reality perspective, it doesn't matter what Pat said, since our enemies will believe what they will believe. Pat is more political broker than evangalist, and personally I think he needs to wear either hat, not both. He looks funny with two hats on.

 
At 12:58 PM, August 25, 2005, Blogger AmericanWoman said...

neo - great blog. You inspired me to begin my own blog, and I too wrote about the MSM and how I wished they would just admit their bias. Of course they probably don't feel they have a bias.

http://felids.blogspot.com/2005/08/journalism-objective-or-objectionable.html

 
At 1:01 PM, August 25, 2005, Blogger knoxgirl said...

I don't really get it when Rosen says this:

"The bias discourse, however justified you may find it, is making many of you dumber by the day. You should be concentrating on getting more of your people into the mainstream media, and making great journalists out of them...."

Wouldn't the proper response to this be: "Mr. Rosen, stop talking about journalism and go do it. Til then, any opinion you have is dumb."

troutsky: wtf

 
At 1:03 PM, August 25, 2005, Blogger Promethea said...

As I think I said on your first post re the Rosen thread--he refused to acknowledge the vicious role the press played in trying to influence the 2004 election, especially the "no WMD in Iraq" angle, the refusal to look at Kerry's record, and the Rathergate outrage. They were no different than any other propagandist group with an agenda. This is not "bias." It's fact manipulation, otherwise known as lying.

The problem isn't "bias" in the classroom intellectual chitchat sense, it's the refusal of the press to inform voters about the issues that put us in actual life-threatening, civilization-threatening situations.

Rosen writes like someone who doesn't really care what the outcome of the WOT is. But I care, and so I think he is a fool pretending to be a thoughtful person. His high and mighty tone is common among university professors.

I call his bluff. He doesn't know what he's talking about. He's uninformed and doesn't want to look outside his cozy circle to see the dangers lurking.

Most people reading this have probably already checked out Belmont Club's recent post on metastizing cancer as an analogy for spreading jihadism. Does Rosen even think about these things?

 
At 2:14 PM, August 25, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neo, thanks. I would add posting online of full, raw source materials for every story: interview footage, phone logs, reporters' notes. The story itself will continue to have great value as a summary of this material, and writers will strive to be more thorough and accurate knowing that competitors and opponents will comb through the source material looking for mistakes. Already NY-DC-LA are doing this to some extent: LGF & co discovered the TANG forgeries because CBS put the raw data online. They have a long way to go.

I didn't realize Rosen was playing that favorite game of professors, "what's in my pocket?" I really hated those demeaning, pseudo-Socratic guided tours of the boss's mindscape in which American unversity professors excel. --Tim

 
At 2:21 PM, August 25, 2005, Anonymous Carolynn said...

Great post Neo.

Does anyone else wonder if we're avoiding the "elephant in the room".

To me it seems like so much of the mainstream news is just written by people who are really not very intelligent.

My husband and I gave up on the Chicago Tribune because we found it so dumb. Think long articles about couples with 10 children--just briefly mentioning that they don't use birth control (which I suppose should be obvious), then trying to garner public support for such people.

 
At 2:38 PM, August 25, 2005, Anonymous Carolynn said...

...one last thought. I get my news from the Economist now, I read it right before bed. I don't always agree with it BUT at least I can sleep easily at night knowing there are thoughtful, rational people out there in news land.

 
At 3:22 PM, August 25, 2005, Blogger Dean Esmay said...

Yowtch. You're being invaded by comment spammers. Pathetic, eh?

Anyway: I agree that the problem with the press isn't going to be fixed any time soon. You'd think the fact that we now have something like half of America (more, by some surveys) who don't trust journalists would be a clarion call.

That said: I think Rosen makes excellent points about how the bias really works, and further is right when he notes that the problem sometimes isn't that they're biased right, it's that they're completely off the map and doing *everything* wrong.

The market is working to route around these people. But they haven't reacted to it very well.

 
At 4:07 PM, August 25, 2005, Blogger Rick Ballard said...

NNC,

Very well thought and written post. I'll just second Joeseph and Dean - the market will fix the problem. In fact, the market is fixing the problem every day.

The only other note I would add is that the political/foreign affairs reporting that is the crux of the problem represents less than 10% of the typical newspaper. I don't know how far the infection has spread into the other areas (I haven't had a newspaper subscription in a very long time) but the blatant bias has to be focused in the areas where the journos are "trying to make a difference".

I'm cheerful about the fact that they are making a difference - they're driving their employers out of business. Can't beat that.

 
At 4:57 PM, August 25, 2005, Anonymous Paul said...

To be honest, I think both the Left and the Right have their share of bias. Often making a point is more important than telling the truth. The Fourth Estate seems to be shaky at best in today's world.

 
At 5:18 PM, August 25, 2005, Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

Investigative journalists, and press corps journalists train themselves to ask the questions they think people want to hear the answer to. The missing piece is that they are very sensitive to recognizing which questions Some People want the answer to, and think that's the same thing. They abandon stories, not to protect Kerry, or Clinton, but because they believe it's small potatoes -- people aren't interested. They follow their instincts, which no longer read true.

 
At 5:45 PM, August 25, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm curious as to how you neocons view the Fox News channel, fair and balanced? biased?

ken

 
At 5:51 PM, August 25, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Goesh:

So Cindy Sheehan's protestation of your saviour-in-chief is wicked in every way possible, but Pat Robertson's assasination call was a justifiable "freedom of speech" right.

I thought you wingers were suppose to be virtuous for your moral clarity?

ken

 
At 5:55 PM, August 25, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

GoesH;

so if Cindy Sheehan were to call for the assasination of John Kerry or the Clintons, that'd be ok with you right? In fact, you'd probably deify her right?

 
At 6:17 PM, August 25, 2005, Blogger Tom Grey said...

While I mostly agree with you that bias is important, I have a criticism that is also true of Jay Rosen.

You should do little in discussing bias without measuring it and comparing the actual measurements to the "ideal".

Only when you measure something are you dealing with measurable facts. Even if the greater truth is not yet measurable.

 
At 7:41 PM, August 25, 2005, Blogger Goesh said...

Ken - Sheehan has every right to express her views and well she should but she obviously dishonors her son and his choice and commitment in so doing. Her comments about Jews is pathetic and blatantly racial - it makes her a pig, frankly speaking, a very disgusting pig, and pigs are haram, not at all pleasing to allah.

Regarding FOX news, I think they are more balanced than MSN or BBC for instance, or NPR. FOX is certainly less hysterical and less whining. God the high-pitched nasal Liberal whine is grating and surely you will admit that, Ken. Ta Ta! and may allah continue to guide you in all things you do.

Best regards - your fellow American, Mr. Goesh.

 
At 8:03 PM, August 25, 2005, Blogger Charlie (Colorado) said...

Ken, you're probably not off to a good start by referring to people as "wingers." Not unless you want to be called a moonbat.

That said, yeah, Fox is "fair and balanced", almost painfully so. Watch for a while: they almost invariably will have two outside people for each story, one to the right and one to the left. Katrina van den Heuvel gets more air time on Fox than anywhere else.

Personally, I might prefer less "balance" and more care in coming up with well fact-checked stories: I don't find there to be a lot of content in listening to Bob Beckel or Sean Hannity.

 
At 9:52 PM, August 25, 2005, Anonymous huck said...

Neo,

I agree with your choice of "distortion." It seems to me that journalism by it's very nature is distorted because of it's consistent focus on the sensational. No one wants to read about a country with no war, no IEDs, no suicide bombers, etc. In this case, blogging is just as guilty. Look at the most popular blogs; they certainly don't focus on the routine and peaceful existences most of us experience. The public wants drama, so that's what gets reported, but it is quite a distortion of reality.

 
At 10:33 PM, August 25, 2005, Blogger Papa Ray said...

Micheal Yon and the Gates of Fire is a story that is distorted in that Michael is right in the middle of the story.

Its hard to be objective in that position. But Michael is not a journalist he is a war reporter, a writer.

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

 
At 10:59 PM, August 25, 2005, Anonymous john moulder said...

Waiting around for the MSM to change or go belly up because of declining readership probably isn’t the answer. I guess you could call it the Buggywhip Manufacturer Concept(BMC), the idea that the MSM will dry up because of their increasing lack of relevancy. For one thing the number of their propagandized converts may catch up to or even surpass their traditional readership slippage. We shouldn’t forget that despite the blogs & other lights, they still control most folk’s access to news.

And too, the MSM is an institution & institutions don’t easily change, even when some individuals within an institution(& many outsiders) can see very well that the organization could be harmed by certain practices(in this case – rampant bias).

Meanwhile, the damage done by the MSM goes on. I don’t put a lot of faith in the public’s ability to discern. It’s a fact that public support for the war wanes – so who’s winning that propaganda war? Don’t underestimate them. Like neo-neocon has pointed out, what’s going on has been happening since Watergate which was a generation or 2 ago & is by now thoroughly rationalized, internalized & plated with righteousness.

 
At 11:15 PM, August 25, 2005, Blogger neuroconservative said...

I agree with you, neo, but I think both my diagnosis and my prescription are far more radical (and the prognosis poorer). I don't think the press is capable of being more transparent in its biases, or more sensitive to their own distortions, because of the intellectual blinders put on by their professional religion. I discuss this in further detail here and here, and I have a feeling that I have at least two more posts on this topic ready to burst forth tomorrow night.

 
At 5:14 AM, August 26, 2005, Blogger AmericanWoman said...

For the commenter that asked if we thought Fox News is 'fair and balanced', I would say it is more than the MSM.

With Fox at least you know what you are getting, and as it has been pointed out, there is usually a pundit from both sides discussing the story.
What Fox has that other outlets don't is opinion. The 'we report, you decide' isn't just a catchy line. Instead of listening to a talking head spew out 'news' , Fox gives you two or sometimes three sides of the story. It's up to you to think about what you think it right.

Maybe that is the problem. Other news outlets don't want you to think, they want you to swallow what they say hook, line and sinker. They've had it their way for so long, they can't accept that perhaps they weren't 100% right all along, it's just that there was never anyone there to point it out!

I used to scoff at people who said the media had a liberal bias, perhaps that is because I had a liberal bias.

IMO,the MSM, in their incredible arrogance, actually believes that they don't have a bias, or that their view is the 'right' view so it doesn't matter if they skew their stories in that direction.

No one knew the emperor had no clothes until someone actually said it out loud. Well, now Fox and others are saying it loud and clear.

 
At 6:38 AM, August 26, 2005, Blogger knoxgirl said...

No one's going to win arguments by trying to say Fox is not biased... it is. However, it is vastly outnumbered by liberal outlets, which is the problem. For me, the ideal would be for every channel to be up front about their political bias, and for there to be about an equal distribution of liberal and conservative channels. Pipe dream, I know.

 
At 7:00 AM, August 26, 2005, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

You might want to look at Powerline. They have a link to a NYT effort to lie.
One guy compared the transcript of an inteview with Condi to the report in the paper.
GOTCHA!

Somebody can go ahead and explain this.

 
At 7:04 AM, August 26, 2005, Anonymous David Thomson said...

“I don't think the press is capable of being more transparent in its biases, or more sensitive to their own distortions, because of the intellectual blinders put on by their professional religion.”

It’s too late for most of them. They are now middle aged and set in their ways. Can you train an old dog to perform new tricks? Yes, it is possible---but exceedingly difficult. Never overlook the harsh fact that they are generally intellectually shallow. A high number of professional journalists are so far behind the curve that they would have to take a minimum of a two year leave of absence to catch up on their reading. That’s just not likely to occur.

 
At 8:48 AM, August 26, 2005, Blogger Joe Schmoe said...

To me Fox is biased but fair.

Does Fox generally have a right-wing bias? Sure. Especially in their graphics. My favorite is the one which shows the UN logo with "SCANDAL" superimposed over it. They always play this really foreboding music whenever they run it.

But Fox is fair in two ways. First, the right-wing bias is shouted from the rooftops, not subtle at all. When you watch Fox, you know beyond all shadow of a doubt that you are dealing with a right-wing network. They don't pretend to be neutral or disinterested, unlike the MSM.

Second, Fox really does cover both sides of a story. If there is a scandal at the White House they will report on it. And not just in passing -- if it's a big scandal Fox will give it big coverage.

The MSM, on the other hand, will bury stories that don't comport with its left wing agenda. Sandy Berger? The oil-for-food scandal? Crickets are chirping...

 
At 12:15 PM, August 26, 2005, Anonymous huck said...

Joe Schmoe,

You know Fox is bias, but what about the average viewer? I bet he/she takes Fox as gospel truth, just as many take other outlets the same way. Fox doesn't get off the hook here. They're as bad, if not worse, than anyone else.

 
At 3:51 PM, August 26, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Fox treats the average viewer as the decision maker, they report, you decide whether to get out of the way of the hurricane or not.

You seem to imply the average viewer is dumb as rocks and Fox is wrong in giving them a choice in the matter, equal to how wrong the rest of the media is in making the choice for viewers.

None are realistic approaches. Most of the problem isn't with Fox, if you have a problem with the "average viewer" not knowing the difference between a good argument and a bad one put side by side together on Fox, Hannity and Colmes, then your problem is with people and perspectives, not with Fox.

They're as bad, if not worse, than anyone else.

They aren't bad or worse than other news networks because conservatives believe what they report is accurate. Perhaps they are worse in your opinion because you see no difference between people believing that Fox is balanced and people believing that whatever Rather says is 100% truth.

In your view of things, the viewers that think Fox is indeed fair and balanced, that they report but the viewer decides, is the "average American" that swallows the Fox gospel.

Blatantly simplistic in a wrong sort of way. And results in a very cynical worldview that sees anyone else's belief as naive and insincere just because you don't trust any sources.

 
At 10:12 PM, August 26, 2005, Anonymous huck said...

Ymarsakar,

You're making way more assumption than I did. Go back and read Joe Schmoe's comment. That is what I was responding to. He said, "First, the right-wing bias (of Fox) is shouted from the rooftops, not subtle at all. When you watch Fox, you know beyond all shadow of a doubt that you are dealing with a right-wing network. They don't pretend to be neutral or disinterested, unlike the MSM." Many conservatives I've talked to don't think Fox as conservative, just as many liberals I know don't think CNN or CBS is liberal. They think it's news, and that's about it. They haven't taken the time to really think about a bias. It's been that way forever when it comes to the daily newspaper. How many times have we heard "well, it was in the paper!" when someone wants to indicate some alleged fact.

Call me cynical if you want, but I think that is a realistic assessment. Despite the internet, blogs, etc, most people are still getting their information from television and daily newspapers and not spending much time analyzing the quality of the information presented.

 
At 10:49 PM, August 26, 2005, Blogger Tom Grey said...

Huck, we don't get Fox in Slovakia, so I see a lot more CNN & BBC & EuroNews & DeutsheWorld (?-DW) & even a bit of Korean Airirang (often English); plus Slovak TV.

What factual errors has Fox made recently in its news, meaning different than their opinion columnists?

CNN's Eason Jordan; CBS Rather come to mind as Leftist errors, for comparison.

 
At 10:35 AM, August 27, 2005, Anonymous huck said...

Tom Grey,

I don't get cable so I can't comment on the accuracy of Fox's information. The only time I do watch Fox (or CNN, MSNBC, etc) is when I'm on the treadmill at the gym. From my limited experience watching Fox I can say it has a conservative bent for the simple reason that I pointed out in my first comment on this thread. Which stories Fox chooses to cover and from what angle they do cover those stories provides its own form of distortion. Don't get me wrong, plenty of other media outlets do the same. Just as I've heard over and over again that the NY Times distorts the situation in Iraq by choosing to covering the hardships (suicides bombers, for example) and not the successes, Fox will distort by providing more emphasis on the successes rather than the hardships. That's been my point the whole time. Fox distorts just as well as any "liberal" media outlet.

 
At 12:11 AM, September 03, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Many conservatives I've talked to don't think Fox as conservative, just as many liberals I know don't think CNN or CBS is liberal.

Many conservatives don't see the news media in terms of political biases, but in terms of accuracy. And since there are many conservatives, Joe doesn't speak for all of them, nor do I need to assume he does.

I bet he/she takes Fox as gospel truth, just as many take other outlets the same way.

As I said before, you'd have to be either dumb or disinterested to take anything a news network says as the truth, gospel or otherwise. Many people may be that way, but that is no reason to believe Fox viewers are that way.

They think it's news, and that's about it.

They're not here to refute, clarify, or debate your claims about these "conservatives" you claim to have talked to.

Therefore it is not evidence, it is hearsay. Worth nothing.

Like I said before, conservatives are more concerned about accuracy than bias, and you aren't very accurate in your portrayal of things.

Call me cynical if you want, but I think that is a realistic assessment.

Any opinion based upon other peoples' opinion, whether those people are real or not, is not a realistic assessment.

Fox distorts just as well as any "liberal" media outlet.

It just happens to be that what you see on Fox is closer to reality than what you see on the liberal media.

But since you don't watch Fox, but only talk to people who claim that they have, you have an epistemological problem.

I stopped watching CNN and MSNBC a long time ago, that is why I won't say whether they are liberal or conservative biased. That's just simple good epistemology.

 

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