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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Balancing bias and reports on media bias

By Art Lynch

Viewing various YouTube videos on "media bias" illustrates why so many Americans, including the 18 to 40 age group most likely to use YouTube, see the media as liberal.

These reports keep repeating false or deliberately misleading information as fact (just as happens in the greater hemisphere of politics) and sedom show bias on the part of competing news sources (Fox, CNN, MSNBC, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Las Vegas Review Journal, Las Vegas Sun and so on). They are most often very one sided in trying to "teach" about media bias.

Instead of using actual academic studies from large and small institutions, the videos (some of which purport to be academic) overuse a false statistic of 93% of journalist being Democrat, and therefore "liberal" in their reporting bias.

This ignores that Democrats are not all liberal, and that even if they were they have to answer to editors and owners who are decidedly conservative in bias. This is the equalizing effect these reports ignore. And of course independent verifiable academic studies show that reporter actually reflect the overall American public and voter registration (with the exception that thee are more Libertarian reporters than in the general population). That means a slight, and very slight, Democratic bias, with that bias being highly regional and local and not over the entire nation.

They also fail to align this bias trend with the degeneration of journalism as a whole, presenting journalism in an ideal that never existed, but came close during the short "golden age of journalism" between World War II and the late 1970s..

Pew Trust, Gallop, Annenberg are labeled "liberal" by conservatives who disagree with these large sample and scientific method polling and survey organizations and academic methodologist. In fact the will say that "academia" is idea that may have been true twenty or thirty years ago but does not hold up with current policies and the registration of professors and administration in most academic institution (there are conservative or liberal leans in all organizations).

These YouTube Generation videos, which look non-bias and educational, also do not follow the very basis they purport to follow, a fair and balanced report.

In one a CNN reporter is skewered, and maybe justifiably so as CNN has become purely ratings driven, but did not do the same with the bias coverage of FOX and the equally bias coverage by MSNBC. Nor did they go mainstream to ABC, NBC, CBS, AP, Reuters and the BBC.

Be aware of manipulation by professors, like me, deliberate of just by being themselves,but also be aware of the bias of all sources, from YouTube posts to Facebook, New York Times to the acknowledged somewhat neutral Christian Science Monitor.

You always have a filter. All organizations, decision makers, reporters and individuals have biases, prejudices and their own way of filtering information.

Keep that in mind rather than pointing to any source as "proof" of anything, at least any non-jurried, non scholarly, non-scientific method based source. 

Full disclosure. I am a later day baby boomer, with a Great Society / Social responsibility bias toward the middle class and little guy, most often voting Democrat. I believe in being my brothers keeper and that that should extend of our overall society including government.

A bias, but one that is tempered with exploring both sides and the right of all individuals to use their critical thinking skills and be their own masters.

-Art Lynch

10/12/12 first published

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