One of my sons has asked me to pen a post on how I feel about the news media these days. Spin by the media has long been a sore spot with him, so here goes.
I too feel violated sometimes, son, especially when the spin runs counter to my own views and persuasions. But reporters are not the only ones who are guilty of violating our trust. What about big corporations such as Exxon, Enron, R. J. Reynolds, Worldcom, etc.? What about political action committees? Indeed, what about our own government?
“But a much more interesting question is what happens to the whole concept of ‘media bias’ in the age of the Internet and globalization,” says Jesse Walker in his article, Trusting the Media, posted on May 16, 2003 to Reason Online. “Today,” he goes on to say, “any literate American with an opinion can publish his views and distribute them widely. Increasingly successful mainstream outlets (cf. Fox) wear their politics on their sleeves. And anyone with a computer has instant access to papers from all over the world, laying bare the national prejudices that underlie the ‘objective’ media of each country.”
Personally, I like what Will Rogers had to say about the media: “All I know is just what I read in the newspapers, and that’s an alibi for my ignorance.” It’s nice to have an excuse.
All wise media consumers should assume that organizations with an agenda, to include the U.S. government and its enemies abroad, spread disinformation, so much so that even fair-minded reporters will not always agree on the facts. No organization is completely safe from fabulists and plagiarists. In fact, this paragraph itself is a minimally paraphrased exerpt from Jesse Walker’s article, previously cited. I disguised his words with a few happy-to-glads… still plagiarism. So, we should all be on the lookout for everyone’s biases, including our own. You and I, son, are such wise consumers. Everyone else? Well, they’re biased. 😉
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