Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mainstream Media's Bias and why it Matters

What's the difference between a lie and biased, unbalanced reporting? Very little! They both can accomplish exactly the same ends. If you want to defame me, you can either lie about me or simply just expose the worst details from my life balance-sheet.

However, there is an important difference. If you lie, you can be exposed and shamed. However, if you merely publish my 10 worst deeds out of the millions that make up this life, without any reference to other salient facts, you can probably slide by.

It is important to ask whether our mainstream media is guilty of this slight of hand. (LSN) reports:

*In its photo montage of yesterday’s [pro-life] March for Life, the [Washington] Post focused primarily on a tiny cadre of pro-abortion counter protesters that gather every year on the steps of the Supreme Court (mostly, I am convinced, just so that the mainstream media has pro-abortion counter protesters to photograph): a group so small that, if you weren’t looking carefully, you would probably miss it. Those photos that aren’t of the counter protesters are mostly of older pro-lifers yelling at the pro-aborts, praying at the pro-aborts, or clutching rosary beads or pictures of Mary near the pro-aborts.The caption on one of the Post’s photo reads “Freezing rain Monday morning was said to have limited attendance for both groups.” In response to which Media Research Center writer Tim Graham quipped: “Yes, Post readers: the pro-lifers were limited to many thousands, and the abortion advocates were limited to about 11. The ratio could be a thousand to one, and the newspaper treats them like one versus one.”

That's quite a discrepancy, and these differing accounts leave us with an entirely different impressive of the social currents. LSN continues:

*The mainstream media bias surrounding the annual March for Life is so ubiquitous and so brazen that it has become shrug-worthy, and the butt of jokes. And rightly so: it is so pathetic that it actually is funny. Probably the most laughable example of this bias at work happened last year, when a CNN anchor actually wondered on air whether there were more pro-life or pro-abortion advocates at the March for Life - despite the fact that conservative estimates place several hundred thousand pro-life protesters in D.C. that day, compared to a few dozen, at most, pro-abortion counter-demonstrators. “Which side is represented the most Angie, do we know?” CNN anchor Bill Sanchez queried to his producer, as CNN’s camera focused stubbornly on those few dozen pro-abortion counter protesters. “Do we know?” When there was no response, Sanchez went on to promise that CNN would “keep an eye” on the situation and report on the matter “fairly and squarely.”’ Folks: that’s not media “bias.” That’s not a case of accidentally overstating the case, or misinterpreting the facts in favor of one side simply because you happen to be rooting for that side. That’s outright censorship, lying, and deception. No one accidentally mistakes a crowd of three hundred thousand for one of about thirty.

Well, why make a big deal about media biases? Everyone's got em, don't they? Perhaps, but the press has a high calling. While a lawyer can be biased in favor of her client, a judge cannot exercise this type of bias. She must be impartial. Her role requires this of her.

The media also has a high calling. It has been entrusted with the duty of calling government and its officials to account. The media is supposed to provide a counter-balance to governmental abuse, holding its officials up to public scrutiny. It's role has been deemed so critical to a democracy, that the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America extends certain special immunities to the media.

However, the media is failing to live up to the trust invested in it. It's political and social biases have become more than evident. Although the media continues to extoll diversity as a high virtue, it has found little room for diversity of view-point in the midst of its own staff. Consequently, the public is catching on and fleeing the mainstream for a better light.

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