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Can we really have an unbiased media?

Written By | Mar 4, 2014

OCALA, Fla., March 4, 2014 — Media bias is something that every one of us, irrespective of political philosophy, ought to be concerned about. 

Whether slanted stories originate from the left or right, their damage to our society can hardly be understated. The whole story is rarely told because certain individuals have no interest in spreading the word.

Today, anyone can favor a news outlet on the basis of his or her political stances. In the long run, won’t this allow media bias to run even more rampant?

“Well, it certainly reinforces the financial viability of certain strong ideological bias, overtly voiced via the news outlets,” Norman Solomon says to Communities Digital News. He is a longtime activist for leftish causes, ranging from the anti-nuclear energy movement to opposing various military conflicts. Solomon is most well known, however, for his journalistic work, which revolves around exposing and preventing biased reportage. In 1997, he founded the Institute for Public Accuracy and had a nationally syndicated column from the early ‘90s until 2009.

“Fox News and MSNBC, for example,” Solomon continues. “But within narrow limits that exclude strong progressive views. Fox is far right. MSNBC is merely liberal.”

Brent Bozell serves as president of the Media Research Center, one of our country’s most prominent press watchdog groups. Also a syndicated columnist and television pundit, he has firmly established himself among critics of perceived leftist media bias.

“The concept of objectivity is the greatest myth in all of journalism,” he explained to this journalist last year. “It does not, and cannot exist. Everything is to one degree or another subjective. It begins with the very first question facing the news editor: what’s the news? Everything has a level of subjectivity, therefore everything is, to some degree, biased.

“Good journalists strive for objectivity; no journalist is inherently objective. Objectivity is not, ultimately, the goal. The goal is truth, something that makes moral relativists, especially those in journalism, uncomfortable. That monster Gosnell is arguing that a baby born alive — breathing, moving — is not alive. It is ‘true’ to report his statements. It is not true to give them credence. In fact a journalist reporting truth would state — using experts if necessary (and what nonsense that is!) — to underscore that truth.”

Craig Aaron is the president and CEO of Free Press, perhaps America’s foremost organization devoted to media accountability and journalistic integrity. Unlike other groups, Free Press does not take sides in partisan rancor or advocate a non-media-related political agenda. Instead, it seeks to foster civic participation in the press; a lofty goal which few others have dared reaching.

“Well, certainly if you only read outlets you agree with 100 percent of the time you are probably not getting the full picture,” Aaron told this journalist in 2013. “But I don’t really worry about right-wing or left-wing media if they are honest about what they are. What I worry about is media pushing an agenda while pretending they’re doing something else. And usually that agenda is one that advances the interests of the biggest corporations and those in power. And what I really worry about is replacing reporters with pundits.

“We need more people doing interviews and digging through records and trying to hold the powerful accountable — especially at the local level.”


Joseph Cotto

Joseph Cotto is a nationally syndicated columnist. He hails from central Florida, writing about political, economic, and social issues of the day. In the past, he wrote for The Washington Times Communities and Blogcritics Magazine, among other publications.