The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Doubling Down on Bias

The main stream media, through a combination of incompetence and outright bias, has lost credibility with a majority of the American people. Gallup reports that 68 percent of the public doesn't trust the media.

In recent weeks, representative new organizations appear obsessed with "fakes news." Some have called for news aggregators like Facebook to "curate" news stories based on the "reputation" of the originator. The problem is that "reputable" news organizations like the NYT, or WaPo, or NBC are perfectly willing to create their own "fake news," not by blatantly making stuff up, but by omitting important stories, in whole or in part; by leaving out context that would allow the reader/viewer to better understand the facts presented; by downplaying scandal when a preferred political party is responsible. And what about news stories that threaten the prevailing narrative—label them "fake."

Rather than be introspective, recognizing that they allowed the personal political bias of reporters and editors to taint their hard news reporting, the MSM has doubled down on advocacy journalism, suggesting that only they can protect the public from "fake news." They sell a preferred narrative (whether on economic issues, foreign policy, or climate change), avoiding any context or information that might soften the impact of their arguments. They have become unprofessional and increasingly irrelevant in a media environment in which there are hundreds of news and information sources. And now, they want to have aggregators spike stories from "less reliable" sources—the First Amendament be damned!

Victor Davis Hansen comments on all of this when he writes:
There is no reason in this rapidly changing digitalized world to follow antediluvian customs of rewarding the New York Times or the Washington Post, or NPR, or PBS with blue-chip perks at press conferences or first claims on interviews. They have not proved disinterested or competent in their reporting and should have to re-earn the esteem that they customarily take for granted. WikiLeaks reminds us that CNN, the Washington Post, and Politico offer no more disinterested opinion journalism than do Rush Limbaugh or the Drudge Report — though the legacy media do spend far more to reach far fewer ...

The New York or Washington, D.C., “senior correspondent” of the mainstream print media is analogous to the disappearing tenured, full professor: a grandee whose position rests on the exploitation of nameless part-timers, whose worldview is increasingly politicized, who is not necessarily competent in his field, and who, in terms of cost-benefit analyses that are now applied to everyone else, simply does not provide society a service commensurate with his cost.

In truth, we long ago entered a late-19th-century landscape of dueling ideological media and should cease perpetuating myths that the Sunday talk shows or the network evening-news broadcasts are disinterested. When Ms. [Christiane] Amanpour lectures the media that the new media credo will be “truthful but not neutral,” she is summarizing the prevailing postmodern creed that doubling down on bias is proof of journalistic authenticity.
For the next four or eight years, we'll watch that main stream media as it "doubles down on bias." This time, instead of willfully ignoring wrong-doing or incompetence, burying serious domestic scandals and foreign policy debacles, the MSM will magnify and distort any presidential action that allows them to justify their anti-Trump narrative. In a way, that's probably for the better, but the hypocrisy of their approach (a 180-degree change) is downright breathtaking.