March 13, 2013

The problem isn’t media bias, it’s failure at ordinary journalism

Filed under: Media, USA — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 11:57

In the Huffington Post, Steven Greenhut discusses the old conservative hobby horse of “media bias” and suggests the problem isn’t bias at all:

In my talks to conservative bloggers and activists who want to understand and influence the media, I downplay the “liberal bias” meme. Sure, most reporters I’ve encountered in my years working for newspapers have a liberal worldview that influences their story selection and coverage. But most are reasonably fair and professional, so I encourage conservatives to try engagement before vilification as they pitch their story lines to reporters.

But my recent experience on the receiving end of a series of supposed exposes has left me rethinking my tendency to cut fellow journalists some slack. I’ve been appalled by the shoddy reporting techniques used to try to embarrass the organization where I work — frustrated by reporters who don’t get the other side of the story and who seem uninterested in investigating anything, but merely want to play a game of “gotcha.”

I’ve been saddened to watch notable publications — the Guardian and Columbia Journalism Review, in particular — republish the hyperbolic reports of left-wing activist groups without bothering to interview the subject of the investigation before publication or doing basic fact-checking or even allowing a rebuttal.

My beef isn’t with these publications’ ideology or biases — bias is an inescapable part of being human — but with their lack of standards and ethics.

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