When I was in college a journalism professor addressed the topic of media bias. He said that biased media is any media that disagrees with your point of view. Everyone had their own selective perspective, and if you disagree with them, you are obviously biased. A career in the small town newspaper business showed me that the man knew what he was talking about.
I don’t care whether you work for a nationally circulated media outlet with millions of viewers or readers, or a small town rag with a circulation of 3,500, sooner or later someone is going to accuse you of being biased. I considered it a point of honor that it happened to me on at least a monthly basis with the newspapers I published.
And you’d be surprised at some of the things that set people off. When I was publishing my newspaper in the White Mountains of Arizona, a high school principal was busted for facilitating drug sales from his office and displaying a large knife when a student refused to pay for some pot he had gotten a week earlier.
Now, you would think that this would put the whole community up in arms, wouldn’t you? Not if you’re in a small town dominated by one particular church, and the accused is a member of that church and very well plugged into the good old boy network. I was accused of yellow journalism, some businesses canceled their advertising because of my bias, and people canceled their subscriptions.
Of course, there were other community members that appreciated me bringing the story to light, and I picked up as many subscribers and advertising dollars as I lost, if not more. But there were businesses that had been steady advertisers who never spent another nickel with me in the years that followed.
Politics, even small town politics, will definitely get you accused of bias. And I’ll admit that sometimes my tendency to be outspoken may have teetered on that edge. For example, the time I suggested that all that the then city manager of Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona needed to improve his attitude was two bran muffins and a strong cup of black coffee every morning. Can you believe some people didn’t appreciate me saying that?
But you know what? If you were to ask Miss Terry what first drew her interest to me, she would tell you that it was those same outspoken opinions. So biased or not, I guess that makes me the winner.
Just the other day someone told me that the national news media is biased in favor of the LBGQT community because they keep talking about the 49 victims of the Pulse Nightclub massacre here in Florida. He insisted that they should be saying 50 victims, since the shooter, Omar Mateen, was killed by police, which makes him a victim, too. No, that made him a scumbag who got what he had coming to him.
Oops, does that make me sound biased? Oh well, in the words of the great and powerful Popeye, I yam what I yam.
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Thought For The Day – People today are drowning in information while starving for wisdom.
Your thought for the day sums it up perfectly. News may be biased as are the readers,however the facts of a story are generaly consistent no matter the source.
“…I suggested that all that the then city manager of Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona needed to improve his attitude was two bran muffins and a strong cup of black coffee every morning…. Loved it! May I use it? I’ll even give you credit.
Help yourself, Fred.
So Nick, are you really saying there is no bias in the various media outlets? I am old enough to remember watching Douglas Edwards on the CBS evening news, I have to say he appeared to be what a news host should be, just state what happened with no putting a spin on it. I have also watched every successor to Douglas Edwards and they have gotten progressively more opinionated (biased) over the years. Appears most news networks have followed suit.
Interesting story Nick – The truth sometimes hurts and many simply are too comfortable & wish to remain sealed in their cocoon of willful ignorance.
Fortunately, we still have access to several centered news outlets who still exhibit moral courage, character and promotion of the greater good.
I also concur with your professors statement…intellectual curiosity and thirst for truth must supersede ones preference for news outlets.
Thank you for the mention Nick !
But these days living in an RV I’m going with “I Yam WHERE I Yam” skuh kuh kuh kuh kuh kuh .