Wednesday, June 16, 2004

The way of the media

I'm always interested in how media covers a particular story and what inherent bias there is in the story itself. Business Week had an interesting article about whether there is a leftist/liberal slant in the media and came away with the conclusion that yes, there is; in fact, my favorite news source, Newsweek, is possibly the most liberal out there. What was surprising about that article was that FOX News, considered the Bush cheerleading squad, isn't quite as conservative as people think it is. ABC News and The News Hour with Jim Lehrer were considered the most balanced news outlets out there, according to the article.

So what's this all leading up to? We all read what we want to read and we get the information our sources give us. We go for the comfort zone of not necessarily having our ideas challenged or the way we think questioned; consider it a media-sanctioned 'amen corner'. We can give ourselves a little pat on the back every time the media outlet of our choice validates our own opinions. There's no reason to question or dig deeper because hey, we got what we wanted to get, and voila, end of story. Another opinion and ingrained. The only way to get out of that is to spend the time to read numerous sources of news -- Google News makes it a lot easier because it collects news from around the world and you can read varying world opinion and why, oh why, is it such a bad thing to read opposing views every now and then? I do read conservative blogs/media just because I'm curious to know what's going on on 'the other side'.

Here's a good example of the difference between two outlets with very different slants and agendas. CNN's lead story's headline reads: 9/11 staff: No al Qaeda cooperation with Iraq. The World Tribune's lead story's headline reads: U.S. wants armed security guards for Olympics team. Which is true? Which story is more accurate? Who knows? I like CNN because it agrees with me and so I feel validated -- no link and hence, I stop right there. ETA: Even FOX News is carrying this story prominently on its front page.

It's interesting that we need the 9/11 commission to issue a report on this after Cheney and Bush both said not too long ago that there was no link between Iraq and Saddam. Yet 75 percent of Americans persist in believing that was a link. You can't have it both ways -- one or the other side of the media is lying and we'll always believe it's the other side -- the conservatives accuse the liberals of covering up the ties, the liberals accuse the conservaties of creating ties. Me myself, I prefer the World News which reported a couple months ago that Saddam and Osama are actually lovers -- now there's a story I can get behind!

Just something to think about.

No comments: