biased media20 Jun 2005
I made a comment over at this thread (which is still going, last I checked) over at Nashville is Talking. I want to reproduce it here, mostly because I used a good quote from Alterman’s book, Sound and Fury. Alterman is much more famous for “What Liberal Media?”, although frankly I found this book much more educational and instructive about the media as it exists today. Anyways, the discussion was about Lance Frizell’s accusation that Brittney at Nashville is Talking is aiding and abetting the insurgency, or some other nonsense, which turned into a quick detour about media bias and objectivity, to which I added:
The gold standard of objective journalism is largely a fabrication of the new york times and others in the 1920s in order to tone down controversy and avoid alienating potential advertisers. Christopher Lasch:
Responsibility came to be equated with the avoidance of controversy because advertisers were willing to pay for it. Some advertisers were also willing to pay for sensationalism, though on the whole, they preferred a respectable readership to sheer numbers. What they clearly did not prefer was “opinion.” It did not guarantee the right audience. No doubt they also hoped that an aura of objectivity, the hallmark of responsible journalism, would also rub off on the advertisements that surrounded the increasingly slender columns of print.
So you see, the hallmark of “responsible journalism” – objectivity – has less to do with a responsibility to the readership and more to do with minimizing extremes, maximizing viewership, and of course, maximizing profit.
But that’s old-school. Blogs are a new opportunity.
“Bias” is not what’s important – the hallmark of “responsible journalism” should be adherence to facts, not avoidance of opinion.
And if Lance has some contention with the facts presented here, or the opinions that Brittney offers on them, maybe he should bring those up in a responsible manner like a grown adult rather than yimmering on about “bias”.