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Media's role

  • Oct. 2nd, 2008 at 11:55 AM
Hey, all, Melissa here.

Something a little self-indulgent today, since as a reporter, I'm obviously concerned with the way audiences view our role.

Have fun watching the debate tonight! Look forward to hearing what you think on that tomorrow....

Do you trust the media and their covering of the election? Do you think there is a liberal bias? Is it a problem for commentators (and bloggers...) to have a bias? What should the media be doing differently?


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jeffxandra wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 07:50 pm (UTC)
No, I don't particularly trust the media.

The alleged liberal bias, which at one point may have been true, left a long time ago. Cowed by the right, the media went into a "present both sides" shell where it is completely uncritical of anything and everything. Combine that with Republican willingness to say anything about a candidate (see Swift Boat) then that gives them a distinct advantage.

Can it be problem for commentators and bloggers? Certainly many columnists hew more to talking points than actual critical analysis of situations they write on.

The media in general is supposed to take what is said and provide analysis of truth, not of performance. If you look at the last debate, much was written and said concerning how McCain wouldn't make eye contact, how he was condescending with his "What Senator Obama doesn't understand..." lines, etc.. That is not what the analysis should have focused on. It should have been about the assertions made by the candidates and whether they were true or not.

McCain proposes eliminating earmarks but when questioned on the substance of it by Obama he deflects the question. Does the media deal with the fact that the earmarks he proposes cutting, ignoring his proposed additional tax cuts are not sufficient to cover the existing deficit gaps? Nope.

And if anyone does say that there's a liberal bias based upon Palin's interviews, then they can't possibly have watched them. She hung herself, both Gibson & Couric gave her as many opportunities as they reasonably could to recover from her misstatements.
1trackmind wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 09:46 pm (UTC)
where it is completely uncritical of anything and everything.


And if anyone does say that there's a liberal bias based upon Palin's interviews, then they can't possibly have watched them.

Well, they're doing the same thing. Making stuff up. Asking how she used her own words is not a gotcha! question. Nor is asking her to name a Supreme Court case. You'd think she could have at least talked about the recent case that heavily impacted Alaska since she is the governor. Nor, for that matter, is asking her what publications she reads.
chinchiller wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 07:52 pm (UTC)
I do not think there is any more of a liberal bias than there is a conservative bias. That is, there is definitely a liberal bias, but there is also definitely a conservative bias as well, but these biases are all within individual organizations and not the media as a whole. Overall though, they balance each other out.

I just wish my parents would stop watching Fox News...
cnst wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 07:59 pm (UTC)
> Do you trust the media and their covering of the election?

I sure don't. Take a look at the front page of this community. What do you see in there? A picture of Obama/Biden on the left, and McCain/Palin on the right. Now tell me, are they the only candidates that are running? Sure, can't put everyone, but this bipolarity doesn't represent more than 10% of the votes. Nader, for one, has a pretty solid ballot access this year, and the figures from a few months ago were putting him at 6% nationwide. I'm sure he'd get much more if he was allowed to debate with the candidates from the major two parties.
love_1776 wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 08:00 pm (UTC)
There's always a bias. We're human; we are naturally bias. Liberal, well it could go both ways, even on "liberal" or "conservative" channels. It's just being able to filter away opinions and get to the facts.

Nothing wrong with a bias. If you want someone's opinion, and they give it to you, well yeah it's gonna be bias.

There are many things the media should do differently, but bias isn't high on the list of problems.
eyenot wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 08:39 pm (UTC)
There is no question about trusting the media in America. If you're intelligent and value constitutional rights, you don't trust what you're told just because it's said often enough, but you also protect the press's right to lie. Who really cares if the media can be trusted? Obviously that's a roundabout way of asking whether Congress can be trusted. Why not just ask that question? No, they can't. Right now Congress is going completely berserk like a haywire android. Everything by everybody who ever wanted to see it passed is going to get tacked on there, because it's just SO -- MUCH -- MONEY involved, and nobody is going to want to call the cops and ruin the party. America is going to get totally reamed.
eyenot wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 08:43 pm (UTC)
Another thing. Isn't it sort of pointless to turn to the media for election coverage? If anything, the media are only presenting images and sound clips of the politicians themselves. Who in their right mind -- given exposure to the opinions of the politicians, and in this context where they're supposed to be weighing the politicians in their mind and deciding how to vote -- who in their right mind is going to be concerning themselves with the opinion as it's held by and presented by the media? The editor's family or something? Who, why? What kind of question is that?

Did you put that question that way more because (a) you want people to turn to the media for their opinion or (b) you want to distract from the fact that the media is probably not doing all that well covering and/or voicing their opinions on the current Blank Check for Congress Thanks To Their Friends Wall Street fiasco?
millenium_king wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 08:39 pm (UTC)
Liberal Bias
As far as the web and radio go, it's anyone's guess - but I absolutely do NOT trust the TV or Newspapers' presentation of the election. They have a huge bias toward the Left.

1) Just today, Chuck Todd of NBC declared the race "over" because Obama has hit the "tipping point" (according to him - not some study). This is a clear example of the media making the news, rather than reporting it.

2) The LA Times, Reuters and the Washington Post have been under serious scrutiny for using staged or doctored photos.

3) CBS presented obvious fake documents claiming President Bush went AWOL while in the National Guard. Despite the fact that many websites have shown the documents to be false, despite the fact that they came from an "anonymous source" from a Kinko's fax machine and despite the face that Dan Rather was demoted for presenting them at all - despite all this, most Americans still accept that Bush went AWOL. Did I mention that they were revealed during a crucial time in the 2004 election...?

4) There are currently 8 reporters in Alaska digging up dirt on Sarah Palin and absolutely zero reporters in Chicago doing the same for Barack.

5) No TV outlets ever discuss the following things in connection with Barack Obama: ACORN and voter registration fraud, domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, Obama's radical mentor Saul Alinsky who advocates breaking the law to push an agenda.

6) Oprah Winfrey openly endorses Obama, but refuses Sarah Palin on her show until after the election because it would be "making her show political."

7) CNN plants a Clinton operative in the audience at the Republican youtube debate and gives him more microphone time than anyone else.

8) Last night on the Daily Show, nearly 20 minutes was spent criticizing Sarah Palin - Barack's name did not come up once. The day before, only 14 minutes were spent criticizing Palin.

9) Off-teleprompter, Barack Obama stutters and stammers and says "uhhh..." alot. But you wouldn't know it unless you listen to the radio. The TV media does does not report it.

And the list goes on...
valknott wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 08:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Liberal Bias
Luckily there's no bias in this response.
Re: Liberal Bias - 1trackmind - Oct. 2nd, 2008 09:41 pm (UTC) Expand
Re: Liberal Bias - hoppytoad79 - Oct. 2nd, 2008 10:02 pm (UTC) Expand
Re: Liberal Bias - pariskan - Oct. 3rd, 2008 04:58 pm (UTC) Expand
Re: Liberal Bias - hoppytoad79 - Oct. 4th, 2008 02:25 am (UTC) Expand
Re: Liberal Bias - lurkitty - Oct. 3rd, 2008 12:33 am (UTC) Expand
Re: Liberal Bias - millenium_king - Oct. 3rd, 2008 07:30 pm (UTC) Expand
Re: Liberal Bias - lurkitty - Oct. 4th, 2008 12:57 pm (UTC) Expand
Re: Liberal Bias - jeffxandra - Oct. 3rd, 2008 05:07 pm (UTC) Expand
valknott wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 08:58 pm (UTC)
Take a look at the megacorporations that own the media and tell me with a straight face that they have a "liberal bias." LOL!
millenium_king wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 09:33 pm (UTC)
Take a poll on how many news anchors and reporters are Democrats and tell me with a straight face they are "fair and balanced" or anything but liberal.
(no subject) - manatees - Oct. 2nd, 2008 09:42 pm (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - lakadyn - Oct. 3rd, 2008 07:35 am (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - hoppytoad79 - Oct. 2nd, 2008 09:48 pm (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - millenium_king - Oct. 3rd, 2008 07:05 pm (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - hoppytoad79 - Oct. 4th, 2008 02:32 am (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - valknott - Oct. 3rd, 2008 12:02 am (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - millenium_king - Oct. 3rd, 2008 07:31 pm (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - valknott - Oct. 3rd, 2008 08:01 pm (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - millenium_king - Oct. 3rd, 2008 09:38 pm (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - lurkitty - Oct. 4th, 2008 01:03 pm (UTC) Expand
tiny_josser wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 08:59 pm (UTC)
I dislike bias in journalism, because to me that ruins the whole point. I avoid getting my news from such places (not to pick on the right here, but when I think of bias in the media I instantly think Fox News). I don't trust that. They should report on the facts. All of them. I don't consider it to be a reporters job to show their own opinion publicly.
hoppytoad79 wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC)
It's not the reporter's opinion. They may write their own feed but they get leaned on by those higher up than them, assuming the reporter is fair-minded to begin with. I totally agree with your opinion of journalism. Truly pathetic that doesn't apply to the American media. The media here also considers things like Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes worth talking about on the national news. Hello, that's for the fluffy entertainment gossip shows, not national news where you're supposed to report on things that are important and actually matter.
(no subject) - tiny_josser - Oct. 2nd, 2008 09:49 pm (UTC) Expand
(no subject) - pariskan - Oct. 3rd, 2008 05:02 pm (UTC) Expand
1trackmind wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 09:27 pm (UTC)
If there's a bias it's towards the right because the MSM is trying to hard not to appear to have a bias to the left. It's a lost cause. These are the same people who are still crying persecution even though they've been in power (and abused that power) for most of the last 8 years. Even if all news outlets were a Fox News they'd all be accusing the other of a liberal bias. You can't win. It's okay to say you lean a certain way but still be fair to both sides. Having said that, if one side is full of it, then no, you don't have to show both sides. If one group says the earth revolves around the sun and the other says the sun revolves around the earth then don't treat them as equally valid points of view. But the MSM will treat them the same because they want to avoid appearing "biased." Stop it. If someone is completely, objectively wrong in what they're saying, you don't have to give their side of it and doing so only gives them credibility they might not otherwise have.

I would really appreciate in-depth analysis of news stories and issues. Tell me what is factually true, not just that X made Y claim. The courts have said it's perfectly okay for politicians to tell lies in their ads. That means it's up to the media to help inform the public when those ads contain lies. And both sides do it, Democrat and Republican, I have no illusions about that.

And for God's sake, don't just print whatever the White House spokesmen says and end the story there. Is what s/he said true?

Less of the media covering the media. If you want to navel gaze, that's fine, but do it on your own time in places like this one or on the website devoted to your paper/magazine/tv show/radio show.

The MSM has to find a way to start asking tough questions again. And if a politician's handlers don't allow that, there should be some consequences to that. You can't talk to Palin? That should be an issue. You can't ask questions of the White House Press Secretary? That should be an issue, too. (There's a difference between doing news stories on the successes and failures of news organizations and saying we can't get basic information from our leaders). The era of secrecy at the top levels of government need to end. The only group that can bring the sunshine is the media.

Also, I don't care if bloggers are biased. I prefer they state it upfront, but I don't hold them to the same journalist standards (unless the person is a professional reporter publishing the blog on the website of her publication).
hoppytoad79 wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 09:42 pm (UTC)
Trust the media? The American media? The idea of trusting what they report truly made me laugh because what they report is dumbed-down and biased--which way it's biased depends on whose butt(s) the executives want to be kissing at the moment. In the area of the Iraq war, it's biased pro-America, picking and choosing which aspects and which facts to report to acheive their ends. The media probably is biased toward Obama. Welcome to America. The bias of Fox News is strongly conservative and anyone who says otherwise is someone who's just as far to the right.
mightyafrodite wrote:
Oct. 3rd, 2008 04:12 am (UTC)
News organizations tend to be biased toward the country in which they are based. That's neither a stunning revelation nor can be a solid indictment of the US media without making the same argument toward news organizations around the world.
manatees wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 09:43 pm (UTC)
Liberal bias? What liberal bias? Two words; Fox News.

lphybrid wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 10:06 pm (UTC)
I echo the sentiment from others. Conservative bias in the news, and the news also tends to focus on the entertainment value of issues rather than the important stuff. To really understand and make an educated vote people need to take the time to really research on their own, pulling from a variety of sources and come to their own conclusions.

tsmitty31 wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 11:15 pm (UTC)
There are some media outlets that you can trust and others that you can't. More than anything, I think there's a 'speed bias.'

News comes so frequently and needs to be reported so quickly that most reporter's have neither the time nor the requisite context to apply the appropriate levels of investigative rigor.

As a result, press releases are reported and news and sound bites rise to the top.
tyskkvinna wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 11:19 pm (UTC)
Anybody who says they have no bias in their news organisation must be referring to a new organisation run strictly by robots. It's just the way it is. And anybody who says it is a strictly American problem has never paid close attention to news sources elsewhere in the world. The BBC is great, definitely, but they're no less biased than any other organisation. Not that they're all equally biased... not at all.

I prefer news organisations that admit their biases and leanings and then accept the news I hear from them with a hefty dose of salt. In general, I try to read my news from several different news sources - from all over the world - to help form my own opinion of what's happening.

A trend I have been observing lately has been from people - bloggers mostly - who are unhappy with how any particular issue/candidate is portrayed in the news. It's automatically the fault of the liberal/conservative media! And naturally every media outlet has the same bias! It's a form of hyperbole I've been seeing a lot lately that I find rather annoying. If you want to pick apart the bias of any particular outlet, go for it, but don't put them all under the same umbrella.
grace_om wrote:
Oct. 2nd, 2008 11:36 pm (UTC)
There's nothing wrong with commentators and bloggers having a bias -- that's what they're for: opinion, not unfiltered information. A real journalist, otoh, is expected to keep their opinion out of their reporting, as much as humanly possible. Sadly this seems to be a dying art. A lot of people are only comfortable taking in "news" which is slanted in such a way as to confirm what they already believe. So the stations give this to them, and you *can* find whatever you want.

Another trend is finding two strongly opinionated commentators who come from opposite ends of the spectrum and setting them up for a fight. As if this is somehow going to result in "truth." Um, no. That would be "truthiness."

Personally, I'm not interested in anyone's opinion, and prefer to get information from as many sources as I have time for, and make up my own mind. It's a lot of freaking work, but it can be done.

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