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Fair and Balanced

Can journalists really be unbiased? Can a news organization be considered to be free and clear of bias? I’m truly interested in knowing what you think. I can’t even think of a single news organization that doesn’t have some bias and I’m sick of the notion that they can and should. Why have we not seen a major news organization declare their bias? It would be truly awesome if under every authors name it said “I’m biased towards the left,” or similarily “…the right.”

Or maybe when a news organization hires people it would have a little checkbox on the application form.

Check here if you’re biased towards the left.

Check here if you’re biased towards the right.

And then maybe their slogan could say “85% biased towards the…”

Yeah, that would be better.

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  1. I’ve been listening to NPR.org for the past few months and have really grown to love the news station. Personally, I’ve found them to be “closer” to unbiased than most of the other public news stations out there. According to their website:

    2. Unbiased means that we separate our personal opinions – such as an individual’s religious beliefs or political ideology – from the subjects we are covering. We do not approach any coverage with overt or hidden agendas.

  2. I think Tomas is right on this one. It’s not about whether they’re biased or not, it’s about whether they have the mental discipline to do their job without letting that bias affect their work (much).

    It’s like being a designer. Anyone (e.g., a client) can say, “I like blue,” but it takes a designer to say “I like blue, but fuchsia is more appropriate here.” It’s about acting objectively despite subjective preference or bias.

    Unfortunately, as with designers, many journalists suck at this. 🙂

  3. A company can never be free of showing bias. Eventually one of their journalists is going to slip. An individual journalist, on the other hand, can keep his biases out of his writing. Unfortunately it takes more work than most journalists are willing to put forth in their work. But maybe I’m just biased because I plan on being a journalist. 🙂

  4. The media’s job is to deliver the news/information to the watchful eyes of the public as correctly as possible. I do believe that a fair part of the media is biased, but also that a fair part is not.

    The event happens, the media is notified of its happening, and it is reported to the public. But sometimes the gap between the media writing the story and the way in which media is delivering the story, is just a little too big. The event gets changed, even if the change is only miniscule, the fact remains that the event still got changed. And that is happening more and more in today’s society.

    Take magazines/or tv shows for example. Both are a form of communication, communication from events to the public. The magazines/shows which teach about a subject such as fishing, teach about fishing. They can’t say that the best way to fish is always with using a bait that is blue, because it’s not. They can’t change a fact that both they and the public know about because that would make it untrue.

    Now, take a magazine/or show that delivers the events of people, whether they be a celebrity or a person robbing a bank. They CAN change the facts and make them into ‘white lies’ because the public does not know what truly happened until them (the media) reports it. Many times they do twist the truth and change the events.

    The issue now is not how small or big the change was, but that the change did happen. And if it’s already happening now then in 20 years from now it is inevitable that the size of the change will increase. Which means that rather then informing the public, they will be fooling the public.

    But bias is always bound to happen. No matter where you go
    or what you do, it will always be there. Do you not go a day without having a particular tendency or inclination, especially one that prevents unprejudiced consideration of a question or object? Rarely.

    Now and in the future, bias is to be expected, to be anticipated, and it is unavoidable. But now that we know it is going to keep coming, I think the question should now be what we should do about its arrival(s).