Bias in the media has been around for a long time. In fact, the term “Yellow journalism” as defined by Encyclopedia Britannica is “the use of lurid features and sensationalized news in newspaper publishing to attract readers and increase circulation.” It was coined in the 1890’s and was used to describe the tactics used by two New York City newspapers that included the use of yellow ink. It’s nothing new. The sad part is, technically speaking, a reporter’s job is to report a balanced story, giving both sides so that the person watching or reading can make an informed decision. That kind of reporting is few and far between nowadays, and in fact, some of the bias is simply egregious.
Bias in the media takes many forms. It can be the omission of facts, it could be giving only one side of a position, or it could be giving difficult questions to the people you don’t like, versus easy to answer questions to those you do like. Take for example, CNN’s Jake Tapper’s first question of the last republican debate to Ms Firoina:
Jake Tapper: Mrs. Fiorina, I want to start with you. Fellow Republican candidate, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, has suggested that your party’s front-runner, Mr. Donald Trump, would be dangerous as President. He said he wouldn’t want, quote, “such a hot head with his finger on the nuclear codes.”
You, as well, have raised concerns about Mr. Trump’s temperament. You’ve dismissed him as an entertainer. Would you feel comfortable with Donald trump’s finger on the nuclear codes
(Full Debate Transcript Here)
The very same news network, CNN, is set to host the first democratic debate this evening. It’s moderator, Anderson Cooper, has decided won’t pit democrats against each other. Said Mr. Cooper:
“I’m always uncomfortable with that notion of setting people up in order to kind of promote some sort of a face off. Look, these are all serious people. This is a serious debate. They want to talk about the issues and I want to give them an opportunity to do that.”
Could the bias against republicans and in favor of the democrats be any more obvious than this? It’s funny, I was thinking precisely the same thing Mr. Cooper, that the “serious people” in the “serious debate” probably would like to talk about the issues, rather than being goaded into mudslinging and attacking each other’s character. Yet, that’s not what Jake Tapper, of CNN as well, did, now was it? Shameless CNN, absolutely shameless.
Moving on to a newspaper’s bias. In this case, the Washington Times. It runs an article that declares, You have to see how many more people are killed by guns in America to actually believe it, and then goes on to mention how “when it comes to gun homicide, the U.S. stands out from the rest of the world’s wealthy nations.”, and puts a wonderful little chart with the United States showing the most gun deaths. Well, that’s all well and good, but it failed to mention some facts:
- 57% of gun deaths in the United States are suicides
- The United States has a suicide rate 11% higher than international averages
- 71% of the people killed with guns (not suicide) related have a previous criminal record
- 64% have been convicted of a crime in the past (statistics garnered by gunfacts.info from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Statistics)
So what do those statistics tell us? Roughly 66.7% of all the people in the United States who don’t kill themselves with guns are actually CRIMINALS KILLING CRIMINALS. That means for every 10 people killed by guns in the United States, 6.7 (almost 7) are criminals. That’s sort of an important fact to leave out, isn’t it? This may or may not change your views about guns and gun ownership, but I think you’ll agree it’s a pretty important fact to leave out when discussing gun related deaths.
Sometimes people or positions that the media agree with lie, and the media doesn’t stop using their lies as evidence to support their cause. Case in point: the claim made by many in the media that “there is 97-percent scientific consensus regarding human-caused global warming.”
Unfortunately, that study was debunked, and proven to be not factually accurate:
Again, your opinion on global warming, and whether or not it’s man made is really besides the point. The point here is, the 97% claim was a misrepresentation of the facts. It was a lie. Yet many news outlets either fail to report that it was debunked as untrue, or, keep perpetuating the fact, knowing fully well it’s untrue. That is absolutely disingenuous, unprofessional, and wrong.
Those are just three examples of bias in the media, I could go on and on. In my view, journalists should be truthful and accurate when they report. They should be independent voices, declaring any affiliations or conflicts of interest if and when there may be any. They should be fair and impartial, trying in earnest to give all sides of a story, not just the one they agree with. They should admit mistakes and correct any errors in their reporting when such errors become known. Those are the standards that journalists should strive for.
In the end, I just want to make an informed decision. I cannot do that when I don’t have all the facts. The American people cannot make informed decisions when they don’t have all the facts either. Whether you are a liberal, conservative, democrat, republican, or completely independent, you deserve to know ALL the facts. You deserve the right to DECIDE FOR YOURSELF. Wouldn’t it be splendid if, after a hard day at work, the public simply could come home, turn on the television, or read a newspaper, or go to a website, and simply get the facts? Is that really too hard a task for our media too handle? Is that really too much to ask of them? I don’t think so, but hey, I’m just a cop.
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