T Nation

Unbiased Media as Watchdog of Democracy


#1

Do you believe it’s true? Is the concept extinct? If yes, what happened?


#2

I think now more than ever, the media really only functions as an information intermediary. Even if you think the major news networks are heavily biased, in the internet age it is incredibly easy to pick and choose your sources. Its what we do with the information and how we put it into political action that really determines the effect on democracy. Of course many people don’t have the wherewithall to intelligently interpret and analyze the information being fed to them, simply accepting what they see at face value.


#3

My curiosity is if the internet has given a medium to anyone with a keyboard to clog the net with no reason to filter their personal bias, as I assume (naively?) the majority of professional journalists attempted at one time.

Sure there is a plenitude of information, but seemingly no way of filtering the truth without being an expert in the field being discussed - making the analysis next to impossible.

Not just these political wars, but matters of science, history, current events.


#4

Absolutely… I think a major problem with social media in politics is the regurgitation of information in the form of memes or political satire (whether true or not), and then being accepted as fact by that person’s followers. One of those idiots shares it, then even more people see it … You see where I am going with this.


#5

Either way its up to us to apply that filter to anything we see


#6

Media bias has always been and will always be. Our news media is a reflection of what we value whether we want to believe it or not. Our culture has changed. Society doesn’t revere concepts like liberty the way it once had.


#7

I view the media as only ONE (among many) of the “Checks and Balances” we have.

With that said; it’s importance has become lessened by it’s ever increasing bias and lack of balanced reporting.

Now; one could argue that this lack of balance and the bias that they have is a reflection of “our” (society as a whole); and 1) our desire for the sensational, superficial and 2) (as someone mentioned) our desire to not necessarily know “truth”; but to hear only from those sources that agree with us and feed our biases.

So…in answer to your original question, Teco:

Media COULD be one (among many) Watchdogs of Democracy…but it’s value is diminishing on what seems like a daily basis.


#8

It is so dead that this title made me laugh. The bias has always been there. It has always been a liberal bias. But up until lately some effort was made to be fair. If you want more than one side now, you better get most of your news from a mix of on line sources. Or at least watch both CNN and FOX. But you will still have a very main stream bias in your information if you get your news only on TV.

As a watch dog the news services are dead.


#9

The best way to get past that is to read opposite biased sources. Sources that actively attack the information if their opponents. Then compare to what the main stream is saying. You can normally find the most accurate information that way. The BS tends to not stand up to so much light


#10

The concept isn’t dead, but it’s a myth that it has every truly existed. The concept of a disinterested, objective news service serving the public without bias or favor is a relatively new concept.

The Constitution provides the space for a free press, not an unbiased one to serve democracy. We only get an unbiased press if we choose that over partisan/biased sources. We don’t, and that’s the problem.


#11

Just to add to what TB posted.

This fits into this mythology of some “perfect” America that somehow existed in the past.

I often press people with two important questions:

1) WHEN did this perfect America exist that you want to go back to AND

2) WHO was it perfect for.

100% of the time there are crickets.


#12

But when was it perfect is not the question. The USA is a human institution as such it never has been or will be perfect.

But was their a time that in many ways it was better? Yes there was a time we were freer. We once earned more our families were once much stronger. No it was not perfect and not everything was better. But a lack of perfection is not an argument against what is good.

The only reason you’re hearimg nothing is because of the word perfect. Asking for the perfect is an intentional effort to stifle conversation.


#13

The main stream media used to be far more unbiased than it is now. Back in the day they only tipped it slightly toward the democrats. It was always there but quite subtle. When FOX came along in the 90’s and was obviously biased toward republicans and conservatives that was the green light for the main stream media to show its true colors and they certainly have.

It has grown far worse since Obama ran for President. When they saw a far left candidate (as proven by his Senate voting record) who was actually black they gave up all semblance of fairness (ask Hillary who took it on the chin back in 08’) and of course FOX pulled even further right and now we have what we have.

If one is not getting most of their information from multiple sources they are only getting part of the story and that part will most certainly be slanted.


#14

Times have changed so fast. Back in the 1990s UCLAs social sciences department did a study on news bias in the news media. Fox News Hume report and PBSs McNeal Lear report came in as the two most balanced News casts. That sounds funny today


#15

I think that the two things that have thrown it the most off kilter is skyrocketing advertising budgets combined with the technology that allows the development of metrics of what people respond to. That creates vicious competition for market share and the ability to respond extremely quickly to confirmation bias.

Headlines this week on a story like the naval confrontations in the Strait of Hormuz morphed in a matter of days from mundane on Wednesday to phantasmal by Friday. All so that I could get banners telling me to start a Scottrade account TODAY and get 50 FREE TRADES for clicking this banner!


#16

For real. The only thing the media is truly biased towards is $. Fox would polish Obama’s toenails if it would double their revenues.


#17

It’s not an intentional effort to stifle anything.

Use whatever word you wish; every year of every decade of our Republics existence has had serious problems; those problems were often ignored; and groups of people were often marginalized.

That’s neither “Liberal” or “Conservative”…just reality.

DESPITE our imperfections; I personally would not want to live anywhere else in this screwed-up World.


#18

So your claim is what? Best time ever, no mistakes made, nothing better in the past? Or to use your words is this a perfect time now?


#19

When you say “we,” and “our,” of whom do you speak?


#20

The statement is true. But the majority of media is VERY biased. It’s hard to know what is the true. I read both sides.
At least then, I know what they agree on is most likely true.