An audience is challenged on supposed mainstream media bias
To the the list of the two things in life that are certain, death and taxes, you can officially add a third: The news media is biased.
On the rubber chicken speech circuit, the question is always raised for the audience to answer, “Raise your hand if you believe the news media is biased.” And with that invitation, every hand in the joint goes up, including the waiters and cooks back in the kitchen.
The “belief” has reached epic proportions for a number of reasons, including because the Fake-News-In-Chief has planted the seeds and now everybody who supports President Donald Trump is totally convinced that the concept of fair reporters is but a marvel of the distant past.
But the liberals are not immune to the disease, either. Just listen to them rant and rave about Fox News and its cache of liberal bashers. But now, even that supposedly right wing outlet is being blasted by the president for having the audacity to call the state of Arizona for Joe Biden, which not only brought an angry tweet but now his threat to create a new conservative channel to “kill Fox News” if Mr. Trump ever leaves office.
The genesis for the transformation from a fair media to what we have today is grounded in the expansion of cable news and the internet/social media. Back in the day, when you did not need a remote channel clicker ’cause there were only three channels, CBS, NBC, and ABC were the only news games in town.
Each news department was stacked with “real” journalists, grounded in the time-honored tradition of trying to get the story right and navigating as close to the truth as you could humanly get.
And, for a good length of time, the public responded accordingly. Heck, it even made Uncle Walter Cronkite the most trusted person in America. See if anybody nowadays says that about Mr. Hannity or Ms. Maddow.
Once the spectrum was filled with a host of news choices, some wise guy decided the only way to bring eyeballs to your network is to not to offer what the others guys are doing, so-called “objective coverage,” but to slice and dice the news audience into right and left wing pieces. And the public gravitated to the channel that best fit their political leanings. Now, all reporters are biased, and there were no two ways about it.
But back to our rubber chicken audience, with all those hands frantically waving in the air. That was a chance for a perfect teaching moment.
Wading into the audience, one of those hand holder-uppers was asked, “How do you know the media is biased?
Response? First, there was a long pause and then this: “I just know it when I see it.”
In a court of law, that would not stand as evidence, but, in the court of public opinion, that was good enough for them and everyone else in the room.
Then this request: “For just a moment, try to suspend your judgment to consider this.”
For some, that would be a stretch.
The audience was asked, “Do you remember Gov. John Engler?” Of course, everybody did, and everybody knew when they used the term “political lightning rod,” they had him in mind. Everything he touched made somebody angry or joyful.
So, this example. “Whenever we had Mr. Engler on TV, here’s what would happen afterwards. If you loved John Engler, you told the reporter who had done the interview, ‘Why were you so disrespectful to the sitting governor of Michigan? Why did you ask him all those slanted and loaded questions? How dare you!’
“However, if you were not a big fan of Big John, the commentary did a 180. ‘Hey man, why did you let him off the hook? Where were all the tough questions you ask of everyone else, except him? You must be in bed with him.'”
The audience was then confronted with this conclusion: It was the exact same broadcast, but there we had two distinct attitudes that the reporter was biased, when in fact it was the viewers that applied their selective perception. Hence, “if there is any bias out there, I’m looking at it, the speech-giver would challenge the audience.
And then, to put a top on it, if a capital correspondent was truly tilted this way or that, he or she could not survive in our town, because one side or the other would freeze them out and never talk to them, thus rendering them useless to their employer.
Yes there are “reporters” who have an agenda to push, but they get paid to do that.
But in the MSM, a vast majority are trying to get it right and don’t give a hoot as to who wins an election.
Getting the story first is not the main objective. Getting it right is, and sometimes that happens, and, when it doesn’t, the “real” journalists will admit it.
It’s unclear if any minds are ever changed over the ingrained media biases mantra, but, if you read this article, you get points for at least trying to understand.