Thursday, August 18, 2011

The bias of claiming media bias

The questions and commentary on media bias appear to be an enduring part of our political and social climate. But nearly every critique of such is based upon a flawed foundation, the bias of the listener/viewer/reader. This is why proponents of the theory that the American mainstream media is biased are forced to rely on terms such as saturation, intensity and diversion.........all nearly immeasurable standards except by one's inherent bias.

Almost nothing can prove a general conclusion on an issue such as perception of bias. That perception is inherently subjective. We have organizations on the left and the right claiming examples of bias, as well as studies from various academics and analysts. But the bottom line is when one is beholden to a particular political team; they will usually find any reporting not deferential to that team, as biased.

Most claims are that the Mainstream Media is biased towards liberals, using quotes and examples from evening opinion programming, that are also found on evening opinion programming that caters to the right.
There are several reasons that ideological websites and blogs are more popular than ever.....the primary reason being that they report on stories and the context of stories that the MSM decides not to cover. Remember, one cannot deride the MSM as being sensationalist, inept, ratings driven and shallow - and - believe that they maintain a cabal of intrigue and power benefiting one political party, yet oddly not adding any tangible value to that party's chance at gaining or maintaining power.

We have an unfortunate duopolistic political paradigm; one where the media and the two parties aid and abet each other in a dance of hypocritical red meat-wedge issues, while the true challenges facing our continued survival as a superpower remain unanswered. I'll state it plainly...if the MSM were biased towards the left, the sheer volume of sourced, fact laden stories they could report on - which would be detrimental to the staggering.

As there is no conclusive study [though there are admissions to the inception of the meme by the allegedly afflicted party], and no discernible impact on the electoral success or philosophical underpinnings of the afflicted party [liberal is a pejorative, conservative isn't], to buttress a claim on institutional bias. I know alternate points of view are difficult to ingest, but by no means am I infringing on anyone's ability to use whatever intellectual crutch they deem worthy to scapegoat ideological shortcomings of the party or candidates they support.

The American MSM is undeniably following the business model of enabling and abetting the political duopoly. There simply isn't the same financial incentive to cater to a particular party outside of segmented blocs, as we see in evening opinion programming. None of that is to say that I think our media is generally worth a damn, but with the subjectivity and personal bias inherent in each and every one of us...discernibly proving media bias is tougher than mere rhetoric. To use such a claim in political discourse, is most often a prop to atone for lack of substance to a position.


  1. "liberal is a pejorative, conservative isn't

    Which is why the simple unadorned "conservative" is rarely employed by the media.

    It's usually "rightwing" or "rock-ribbed conservative" or some such construct.

    Voting patterns and self-description mark most of the big media players as left of center.

    Bias is hard to definitively "prove," since both sides now have built entire industries that, like a private NSA, mine the 24/7 gush of nonsense looking for key words.

    I do agree with your duopoly comments. We have Democrats and Republicans each offering their own brand of statism. How do you like your tyranny, left or right?

  2. If by big media players, you mean the on air journalists and byline reporters, then I agree.

    However, they are not the final word on story selection and content editing...that is the purview of Editors and News Directors. If I didn't have to go to left and right wing websites to get the other side of the story on issues of the day, I might think the mainstream media was institutionally biased...but I do.


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