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Video Series on Media Bias Coming Soon: A Preview; Need Your Take

by John on 07/09/2012

We’re about to go into production with a video series on how to become Informed Not Inflamed.  This is the script for one of the courses.  I explain what media bias really is.  It will be both a video and podcast readily available to anyone who visits the site.  Give me your thoughts.   It’s in CAPS since it is a script.   

EVERYONE LOVES TO SCREAM ABOUT MEDIA BIAS.

HERE’S THE TRUTH.

THE MEDIA IS BIASED.

GET OVER IT.

ASK YOURSELF — ARE YOU PERFECTLY UNBIASED?

NO. NO ONE IS.  YOU CAN’T WIPE-OUT BIAS.  IT’S PART OF YOUR D-N-A — AND YOUR EXPERIENCE IN LIFE.

PLUS, IF EVERYONE WAS UNBIASED WE WOULD BE BORING.

NOW IN DEFENSE OF MANY NEWS OUTLETS, THEY TRY TO BE UNBIASED.

I THINK OVER THE PAST 20 YEARS – THANKS TO A WIDE RANGE OF NEWS OUTLETS WITH DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW AND A LOT OF TALK ABOUT MEDIA BIAS – THE PUBLIC IS NOT AS AMPED-UP OVER SOMEONE’S BIAS ANYMORE.

FOX NEWS IS CONSERVATIVE.  MSNBC IS LIBERAL. I GET IT.  BIG DEAL.

ONE REASON IS THEY DON’T REALLY HIDE IT.

AND THAT’S GOOD.  MOST OF US SHOULDN’T BE CONCERNED ABOUT BIAS – AS LONG AS THE BIAS IS REVEALED.  IT’S ALL ABOUT TRANSPARENCY.

MOST OF US THINK OF BIAS — AS A LIBERAL BIAS OR A CONSERVATIVE BIAS.

IT’S CERTAINLY THERE.  BUT I THINK THAT IS A MINOR BIAS.  YET IT’S THE ONE WE DWELL ON.

IT’S THE ONE BIAS THAT CANDIDATES SCREAM ABOUT IT.   HERE’S A CLUE.  WHEN A CANDIDATE COMPLAINS ABOUT MEDIA BIAS – HE OR SHE IS USUALLY GETTING BEAT AND IT’S A LAST RESORT TACTIC.

I THINK THE MEDIA HAS FAR WORSE BIASES – THAN THE LIBERAL CONSERVATIVES BIASES — THAT AREN’T AS TRANSPARENT.

THE FIRST IS THE SPONSOR BIAS.  OUTLETS TEND TO TREAT THEIR BIG SPONSORS WITH REVERENCE.  HEY, THEY’RE PAYING THE BILLS. IF THE NEWS IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY X-Y-Z COMPANY, DO YOU REALLY THINK X-Y-Z HAS GONE UNDER THE MICROSCOPE OF THAT NEWS OUTLET?  IN FACT, THAT SPONSOR WILL PROBABLY BE FOUND GIVING EXPERT WITNESS — IN VARIOUS STORIES.

IT’S FREE ENTERPRISE, YES.  GO FOR IT.  IT’S OUR SYSTEM.  BUT DON’T TELL ME THE SPONSOR DOESN’T HAVE SOME SWAY OVER A NEWS OPERATON.  DOES THIS HAPPEN ALL THE TIME?  NO, BUT IN THIS AGE – WHEN AD DOLLARS ARE DOWN – YOU TEND TO FEED THE BEAST AND NOT PURITY OF PRINCIPLES.

NEXT IS THE ENTERTAINMENT BIAS.  NEWS OUTLETS HAVE FOREGONE SERIOUS JOURNALISM FOR ENTERTAINMENT NEWS.  IT’S EASIER AND LESS EXPENSIVE.  PLUS YOU CAN HIRE CHEAPER AND YOUNGER REPORTERS.

THAT LEADS TO THE YOUTH BIAS.  OLDER, MORE EXPERIENCED, AND NOT AS PRETTY ON-CAMERA TALENT IS REPLACED FOR YOUNGER TALENT.  BESIDES SEEING MORE ENTERTAINMENT TYPE STORIES, WE ALSO LOSE A LOT OF PERSPECTIVE AND CONTEXT TO STORIES THAT EXPERIENCED REPORTERS BRING.

THERE’S A WOMAN BIAS IN T-V.  NOW I AM NOT BEING SEXIST HERE.  MOST T-V STATIONS GEAR THEIR CONTENT TO WOMEN BETWEEN THE AGES OF 25 AND 54.  WHY?  THEY’RE THE ONES WHO MAKE MOST OF THE ECONOMIC DECISIONS IN THE HOUSE – ACCORDING TO THE ADVERTISERS.

THE N-M-L BIAS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITES.  THAT’S THE NATIONAL MEDIA LEAGUE – LIKE THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE.  THE N-F-L HAS 32 TEAMS.  THEY COMPETE AGAINST EACH OTHER.  THEY GET US TO HATE THE OTHER 31-TEAMS TO SUPPORT OUR TEAM.  WE END UP GIVING A LOT OF MONEY AND ATTENTION.  IN THE END, CREATING THIS COMPETITION BRINGS MONEY TO ALL THE TEAMS.

DON’T GET ME WRONG.  IT WORKS WELL WITH PROFESSIONAL SPORTS AND EVEN WITHIN CERTAIN INDUSTRIES LIKE SOFT DRINKS – COKE NEEDS PEPSI AND VICE VERSA. 

BUT AMONG MEDIA OUTLETS, THIS GINNED UP COMPETITION IS PLAYING WITH VITAL INFORMATION WE NEED AS A SOCIETY TO LIVE, WORK, AND BE SAFE.  IT’S ONE REASON YOU DON’T SEE DOCTORS DOING ADS SLAMMING ANOTHER DOCTOR.

THINK ABOUT WHERE THIS HURTS US AS A COUNTRY.

DO YOU REALLY THINK MEDIA COMPANIES ARE GOING TO EXPLORE THE PROBLEMS CAUSED BY EXCESSIVE CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM OR THE RULINGS MADE BY THE SUPREME COURT WHICH ALLOW SUPER-PACS TO GIVE UNLIMITED AND NON-TRANSPARENT AMOUNTS TO CANDIDATES?  NO WAY.  IT IS TAKING MONEY OUT OF THEIR OWN POCKETS – AND PROFITS FROM THEIR SHAREHOLDERS.

WHAT’S WORSE – AND I COVERED THIS IN MY BOOK – THE T-V NEWS OUTLETS WERE WILLING TO JEOPARDIZE NATIONAL SECURITY.  AFTER 9-11 T-V OUTLETS WERE SUPPOSED TO MOVE FROM THE ANALOG TO THE DIGITAL SPECTRUM.  IT WOULD BRING MORE T-V STATIONS INTO HOMES THROUGH ATTENAS AND NOT JUST CABLE OR SATELLITE.  PLUS THOSE ANALOG SIGNALS WOULD BE USED FOR OUR EMERGENCY FIRST-RESPONDERS, SO THEY COULD BETTER COMMUNICATE WITH EACH OTHER DURING THE NEXT 9-11.  BUT THE MAJOR MEDIA OUTLETS HELD IT UP – FOR YEARS — BECAUSE THEY FELT NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE WOULD HAVE THE RIGHT T-V SET OR ANTENNA – AND THEY WOULD LOSE VIEWERSHIP – EVEN THOUGH THE 9-11 COMMISSION SAID SUCH A MOVE WAS ESSENTIAL TO THE GOVERNMENT’S ABILITY TO PROTECT THE COUNTRY.  HOW MANY NEWS OUTLETS TALKED ABOUT THAT?  NOT MANY.

THE LAST BIAS I WILL MENTION HERE IS THE TIME BIAS.

MEDIA OUTLETS COMPETE FOR YOUR TIME.  THEIR GOAL IS TO KEEP YOU READING THE PAGE OR WATCHING THE SCREEN.  THE LONGER YOU ARE THERE, THE BETTER CHANCE THE ADVERTISER GETS NOTICED.

BUT MANY TIMES, TO GET YOUR ATTENTION, MEDIA OUTLETS DISREGARD YOUR PRECIOUS TIME.  YOU HAVE MANY THINGS TO DO – BESIDES SITTING AND WATCHING A NEWSCAST OR READING A NEWSPAPER FOR PLEASURE.  YOU HAVE WORK, FAMILY, AND HOBBIES THAT ENRICH YOUR LIVES.

MOST MEDIA OUTLETS FAIL TO BE EFFICIENT AND UNDERSTANDABLE.  A NEWS ORGANIZATION THAT WASTES YOUR TIME IS A BAD NEWS ORGANIZATION.  THAT IS WHY I TELL YOU TO STOP WATCHING CABLE NEWS FOR NEWS.  WATCH IT FOR ENTERTAINMENT.  EVENTUALLY THE SUCCESSFUL NEWS ORGANIZATIONS WILL REALIZE THIS AND GIVE YOU WHAT YOU NEED – QUICKLY – AND SEND YOU ON YOUR WAY.

I MIGHT HAVE SPOKEN TOO MUCH HERE MYSELF.

OK, THAT’S ENOUGH ON BIAS.

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