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Blog 2: Is the media biased?

I believe that the journalism which succeeds best — and best deserves success — fears God and honors Man; is stoutly independent, unmoved by pride of opinion or greed of power, constructive, tolerant but never careless, self-controlled, patient, always respectful of its readers but always unafraid – University of Missouri Journalist Creed

Like many other inspiring Missouri journalists, I have frequently heard the Journalist Creed, calling for fair and objective journalism.  As ideal is this sounds, I don’t believe it is possible.  Journalism relies on the art of words and the reliability of sources.  As Michael Schudson states in “Why Democracies Need a Republican Press,” the complex set of our government system leads journalist to rely on the “opinions and views of establishment figures.”  These sources help frame the articles to fit their opinions and often journalists do not cover both sides of a story or issue, leading to a natural sway of opinion.  The only way to have a fully independent press is to have all opinions covered, and often that isn’t the case.

I also agree with Schudson that journalists often cover a “narrow political spectrum,” so opinions outside of the liberal Democrats and the conservative Republicans typically get ignored (i.e. Ralph Nader).  With our vast “melting pot” of a country, it is difficult to cover all political views.  Think about it — do you remember  specific Libertarian or Green Party coverage off the top of your head?  No, the stories that make the news are stories about Democrats and Republicans and their .key issues

Citizens recognize the nonpartisan press, tuning into FOXNews and MSNBC depending on their own political ideals.  In a study conducted by Rasmussen Reports, 68 percent of those citizens polled believe most reporters will try to help the candidate they want to win an election.  Accuracy and trust in the media seems to be at an all time low (according to a study by The Pew Research Center).

We can work toward objective media, but as much as we try, subjective opinions will be present.  Cable channels, like FOXNews, will only perpetuate this bias, and with our political system, there is no foreseeable way to avoid this bias.

The following video brings up some interesting points — especially about FOXNews and stirring up controversy.  Some journalists like to claim that they are unbiased, but as the video presents “The more open minded somebody claims to be, the higher the probability that they’re not.”

 

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  1. February 8, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Isn’t the name of the Schudson article “Why Democracies Need an Unlovable Press” instead of a “Republican Press?”

    Good job on this post. Though, does the perception of media bias among American citizens mean the media is actually biased?

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