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Right Intention: Media Bias

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Media Bias

Media bias is a big problem. And the public's concern over media bias is making its way to the news desks. Interesting quote from Peter Jennings:

"I'm a little concerned about this notion everybody wants us to be objective," Jennings said.

The article then goes on to say:

Jennings said that everyone -- even journalists -- have points of view through which they filter their perception of the news. It could be race, sex or income. But, he said, reporters are ideally trained to be as objective as possible.

Could have fooled me.


Blogger d0g3n said...

I agree, by the way, that media bias may be a problem--but isn't the first line of your post also indicitive of bias? Where are the statistics to back up your assertion? Or is it simply that you -perceive- bias as a big problem? (Can you define big in non-subjective terms? Or problem?)

We see this again and again in the media--blanket statements with no evidence to back them up. Before you begin typing, evidence is different from examples. Show me clearly that a significant portion of the media that people consume are biased in a significant way that has an impact on people's views, and I'll buy it.

Jennings is correct--it is impossible for anyone in their writing to be completely objective. Even in hard-core science writing (say a paper on physics) the choice of topic for research is a form of subjectivity. Perhaps our news should all be presented by computer, with each story (regardless of subjective importance) receiving 1 minute of coverage and being displayed in a random order. Just the facts. I imagine something like this:

Today John Kery spoke in front of a crowd of 2367 people. He spoke mainly English. His words were amplified by a public address system.

During Kerry's speech, he mentioned George Bush by name 17 times. There was a positive correlation between mentions of G.W. Bush and terms listed as being "negative words" in the news database.

Kerry also addressed the following topics in his speech (number of times):
Health Care (2)
Iraq (3)
Terrorism (3)
Economy (2)
Baseball (1)

Following his speech, Kerry left the stage and the crowd dispersed.

8:12 AM  

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