Knight Of The Mind

I'll do my best to present a philosophical and generally conservative look at current events and life, the universe and everything. Readers are invited to take all that's posted herein with a grain of salt. or if they prefer, a grain of salt, a slice of lime and a shot of tequila.

Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Greetings and welcome. My name is Steve, I'm 35 years old and I work for the US Army as an Operations Research Analyst. Hence my blog title Knight Of The Mind.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Should The Media Be 'Impartial'?

The most recent Michael Barone column takes a few well-aimed whacks at the 'old' media for their assistance to John Kerry during the recently completed US Presidential Election. He points out their bias in no uncertain terms.

More than in any other election in the last half-century, Old Media -- The New York Times and CBS News, joined often but not always by The Washington Post, other major newspapers, ABC News and NBC News -- was an active protagonist in this election, working hard to prevent the re-election of George W. Bush and doing what it could for John Kerry.

If we assume that media outlets are suppossed to be impartial arbitrars of current events and should always strive to be fair. Barone makes an excellent point. The vast majority of the established print and television media favored the Democrats to the point that they lost any valid claim to being objective.

The fake documents caper pulled by CBS anchor Dan Rather only typified an overall anti-Bush media effort. Even events such as Abu Gahraib, where the US Government deserved a certain amount of negative media attention, were handled in a way to maximize their impact on the coming election.

Seymour Hersch had his prison abuse story for two months, but would not release it until he had the footage he wanted. The commentators covering the Abu Gahraib scandal routinely downplayed or failed to mention that the US Army had discovered the prisoner abuses during an internal investigation in response to complaints from soldiers in Iraq. The entire story was treated like a full-blown cover-up and media outlets kept wanting to know how high it went and would not accept any answer that defrayed their preconceived notions.

Another way to look at this is to ask why media sources continue to be asked to do the impossible. I think media members should publically advertise their bias. It should fly on their mastheads and lead off their news broadcasts. "We distort, you decide" or "We'd Rather Kerry won." would be perfectly acceptable themes for a news broadcast as long as they were made public from the outset.

Media consumers could quickly understand whose axes were being ground if media participants were forced to make their political and philosophical biases a
public disclosure. To me, this is how media should report events. In a scientific experiment, you report any limitations that may cause the information gleaned to be unrealistic. I think a required statement of bias would have the same salutory effect on what we read as news.


As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.
Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

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