These days, I have joined the throng of those saying there are liberal, biased forces at work in the media. And I have come across these biases in my daily work in the media—but I have to take this into context: many believe the media seem to have a force that opposes their beliefs.
I can cite study after study of liberal media bias, but some of these studies are linked to conservatives. Not long ago, I came across one from California, although Johnnie Moore dug a little deeper and found that the researcher had right-wing afﬁliations (see his link here).
It wasn’t that long ago when I heard, however, complaints about big business involvement in media, and that they tended toward the conservative. That Diane Sawyer worked for the Nixon administration (plus, you can’t spell Sawyer without sway). There was a feeling of conservatism in The Evening Post in New Zealand in the early 1990s—I have practically made the opposite charge of late.
Why these perceptions of bias? Partially, I believe the media to be responsible. They have shown that they are not on the side of truth, but on the side of sales. The Muslim cartoon affair, blogged here, is an example. I chatted about Dodi Al Fayed and Princess Diana’s deaths with my team today, and how some of the captions to tabloid photographs were pure ﬁction.
People talk. And the truth gets out. If there is no trust, then naturally that is replaced by suspicion.
Media are coming to the table not with clean hands, but an existing image of inaccuracy held by audiences. If that is to change, then media need to get real about their standards.
Otherwise, there’s going to be room for a citizen media service which attempts to be truly “fair and balanced”, perhaps automated by algorithms that measure political bias. It could stem off Google News, or someone else might want to give the Californian boys a run for their money.
Media will survive—even newspapers—if they deliver what people want. That, to me, means depth, impartiality and relevance. No more stories on Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, please, because ultimately, they don’t serve anyone. It’s time to re-earn the public’s trust. Posted by Jack Yan, 12:37
Update: here’s a liberal blog post on the conservative bias in, of all things, The New York Times. So, is there a liberal bias in the media, or is everyone a cry-baby? I prefer the Brits, who plainly spell out who they tend to support; to an extent, some New Zealand publications do the same with their ideologies (such as the Listener and the National Business Review).Post a Comment
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