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Yes, Virginia, there is media bias

Much has been made about the flag-waving pro-war stance of Fox News. Although they call themselves "Fair and Balanced," most people think they are anything but.

In fact, Oliver Willis recently compared Fox to al Jazeera, while Laurence Simon pointed out the blatant jigoism of Fox.

The fact is, you will not be able to find a fair and balanced television news channel anywhere in the world during wartime.

I watch Fox News because I find it has the most interesting reports, the best view of Iraq and the most straight-forward war reporting. That is not to say it is even handed all the time. The cheerleading and pro-war ruminations exist often on Fox. One only has to listen to Sean Hannity or Neil Cavuto to see that.

There's not a lot of choice out there, despite the fact that there are a zillion news channels between cable tv and live streaming news on the internet. You're either going to get feel-good, rally around the U.S.A. and tie a yellow ribbon reporting, or you are going to get look at the carnage the U.S. and coalition forces are producing reporting.

Each view of the war exploits different things. al Jazeera exploits American casualties and death in general. Fox exploits the same thing, but in a different way. They want to tug at your red, white and blue heartstrings so you start seeing things through the same colored glasses as they do.

The war is everywhere. If you turn on your tv or radio or boot up your computer it is staring you in the face, be it with bombs or bodies or flags. The media is changing to fit itself into the war niche. Radio stations are either banning war related songs or urging listeners to go to pro-war rallies. Every local news station has already done a story on how the war is effecting children.

It's really not up to the media to decide what we see or how we perceive their views. It's up to us to make our own choices and to disseminate the information as best we can. Even if you watch a channel that seems to trasmit with a closed mind, it's up to us to watch with an open mind.

Yes, there is liberal media bias. And there is conservative media bias. And in this age of readily available information from all over the world, there is bias news to be found everywhere. Pro-Palestine and anti-Israel, pro-Iraq and anti-America, whatever bias you are looking for, it's out there.

If al Jazeera is not your cup of tea - and I imagine that most of us look at in to fuel our outrage - then make the choice to not watch it. If Fox News is too jingoistic for you, try CNN. If you are sick of the war at all, turn on your local news station where they are probably right now debating the merits of fertilizer. And you just know that someone is going to write into the station accusing them of being biased against the fertilizer industry.

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Comments

Amen, Michele...you can get the basic facts from any of the major news outlets, but the distinguishing feature for me is the amount and type of "personality" of the people who actually deliver said facts. Hands-down, FNC wins. CNN is simply bland, boring, offend-no-one type reporting.

I dont see what the left is so up in arms about over FNC. So the right has ONE network that leans its way now. Big deal? They've still got CNN, MSNBC, and the 3 broadcast networks leaning THEIR way. Some people just live to whine.

I agree, michele...there is no one network that gives unbiased reports at this time....and if they did, we'd demand they go off the air (and that is not said in a disparaging way). We should be watching more than our usual talking head o' choice or we'll have a real skewed view of what is going on....no matter who that talking head may be.

This sort of dustup always leaves me bemused.

The war is an effort to depose a bloody-handed dictator with strong links to world terrorism and thousands, perhaps millions of deaths to his credit. What's the "balancing" view? That such a man has a right to remain in power over 26 million defenseless subjects?

Just where is the "balance" between liberation and prolonged enslavement? Between murder and justice? Between acting from benevolent, generous motives and shrugging our indifference at the foulest state-perpetrated crimes since the Pol Pot regime ravaged Cambodia?

The only thing that bugs ne about Foxnews is that the crawler on the bottom seems to repeat every other headline about twice before switching to a new headline.

Fox in the US is rather similar to Sky News in the UK - both owned by Rupert Murdoch, both pretty crisply right-wing on occasion.

But here in the UK Sky News is FAR BETTER - and far less biassed - than BBC news. Sky is faster, more vivid, and often has better commentators. The BBC coverage is more vapid, and frequently gives moral equivalence to iraqi spokesment and points-of-view.

In the meanwhile, I am increasingly finding that my first choice for immediate news is the "Command Post" blog which you helped set up.

At least FNC leans my way. That's a first and i'll take it.

I can't quite believe I'm reading a list of people cheering that their news is biased. Hooray hooray, my news confirms my preconceptions, who cares if theyre true.

I don't watch a whole lot of news period, but when I do I usually watch Fox News because of all the fine fly ladies. I have no political agenda. Oh, Laurie Dhue, do do that voodoo that you do so well. Plus, she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (NC's my home state). So, do you think I have a shot, or what?

These people are accepting that the news is biased. All news is biased. BBC - biased. CNN - biased. FNC - biased. The DeMoine Weekly Fertilizer report - biased. Indymedia - biased. Really.

When the bias spills into lies or libel, then people have a right to complain. Otherwise, all we can do is be aware of it.

There is no such thing as objective news reporting, there never has been, and there never will be.

"Government exists to service the population. The media exists to provide lubrication."
L. Neil Smith

actually the 'bias' that is often decried on fox comes from one source--it's opinion shows.

now, unless I've gone nuts, the whole point of opinion shows is to put for opinions, which are, by their nature, biased.

the newsbreaks are noticeable lacking in opinionating.

this cannot be said of FOXs' competitors who spin the news unmercifully. I first heard of the initial Basra uprising via the blogosphere--I then, not twenty minutes later, heard a supposedly non-biased CBS reporter tell the world that the uprising was AGAINST coalition forces--in a tone that was almost jubilant. I watch, sometimes amazed that the same story--even the same footage is reported on in widely divergant ways. The 'major' media seems to put out initial reports with an eye towards negativity towards the war effort. FOX, which will fixate and repeat positive news, puts out its initial reports without a discernable bias (their bias becomes visible in which stories they go into depth on).

So, while I agree that Hannity and O'Reilly wear their bias on their sleeves, I maintain that that's what they're there for.

Unlike the iraqi stylings of Peter Arnett, objective journalist.

Kevin, you'll never know til you ask. Reckon Linda Vester would give a dirty old man a look? She's from my home town.

FNC has the best lefties, too. I LIKE Juan and Mara. (But, then, I used to like Mike Kinsley, before he went apoplectic. Maybe I'm a bad judge of good lefties?)

Snow and Hume take no prisoners.

Krauthammer and Kristol are priceless.

Shep and Geraldo are whole 'nother thang.

ABC has some foxes, too, if you can stand Charlie's chin quiver and Peter whatsisname. Elizabeth Cho! Woohoo!

Definitely Fox News. I like their war graphic with the screaming eagle that Lileks wrote about today in The Bleat. I'm among the third that likes it because they know it drives lefties up the wall, or would if they watched Fox News.

Yes, they have a bias. So do all the other networks. And unlike the other networks, Fox is on OUR side. So screw the rest of them and their little Arnetts, too.

Bias is one thing; every outlet has some sort of bias which is why it's good to get your news from a variety of sources.

The problem I have with Fox News is that they treat this whole thing as entertainment rather than an actual war where troops and civilians are being killed and injured. Their "patriotism" doesn't run deep; they'd stab you in the back in a second for an extra ratings point.

The more everyone repeats the mantra that "all media is biased", the less reason you give a media outlet to even attempt fair reporting. If I was a Fox editor reading this site, I would conclude that my audience WANTS me to spin the news so it suit their tastes.
For less biased reports, try http://independent.co.uk
Each journalist naturally brings a bias, sure, but at least here the overall editorial slant is absent.
If all you do is look for reports that prove you were right all along, how will you ever learn anything?

They are not fair and balanced.

What farkin' planet are you from that the Independent isn't a tranzi-leftist rag JG? Let's take a look-see shall we?

[ENTERING JG's WORLD]

» US POW's Video: WARNING: Video of US prisoners of war.

» LIVE WEB CAM FROM BAGHDAD

» Democracy Now The Exception To The Rulers

» EXPOSED: The president's real goal in Iraq...'This is a blueprint for US world domination"

» Dick Cheney’s Song of America

» Uncensored Info on Iraq War from the Russian GRU

Shiiiiit! Talk about biased media? Where did you dig this crap up? Directly from Scott Ritter's ass no doubt. JG, you are a rare find, a fuckin' moron who's so goddamn clueless they actually think the shit they read in Indymedia and bargain basement one man shops like this Drudge Report wannabe.

If all you do is look for reports that prove you were right all along, how will you ever learn anything?

An interesting point, possibly a valid one. Too bad it was buried under a load of horseshit. Keep trollin' JG, someone is bound to believe ya'.

“According to the New York Times, a group of liberal venture capitalists are in the process of developing their own liberal radio network to counter conservative shows like Rush Limbaugh. They feel the liberal viewpoint is not being heard -- except on TV, in the movies, in music, by comedians, magazines and newspapers. Other than that, it’s not getting out!” - Jay Leno

"For less biased reports, try http://independent.co.uk"

And we now know exactly where they're coming from... oh yeah the Independent is right down the middle, yessireee...

Hey, I'm from Iowa - angua it's "Des Moines". And we take our fertilizer reports quite seriously here; we produce more corn than any other state (second in soy beans as well) in the US. Where do you think all that processed food we eat and send to the troops (as well as the rest of the world) starts? That's right, the midwest.

I think there has been media bias even before the first apostle started writing down his recollections of his life and times with Christ. It isn't going to go away simply because the medium changes.

"All I know is just what I read in the papers, and that's an alibi for my ignorance." - Will Rogers

I just want to say that Fox News Channel is my #1 choice so far. Second choice is CNN. I do get news information from other sources, just to see what news tidbits are out there.
I don't know what people are whining about. God forbid any news network somewhat support our troops! If you don't like it, shut up and change the channel to your own brand of B.S. I'll get my B.S. from FNC and like it!

Robert. sorry mate, you need to scrub the sleepy dust from your eyes. The link I provided IN THE TEXT, was the Independent, hence the word "independent" in the link. The link you are refering to is Information Cleaing house, which is definitely left-wing in tone. And if you look carefully at the indpendent you will find many articles of pro-war tone besides people like Robert Fisk, who you will no doubt disagree with, but you would do well to read since his cases are fairly compelling.

Robert. sorry mate, you need to scrub the sleepy dust from your eyes. The link I provided IN THE TEXT, was the Independent, hence the word "independent" in the link. The link you are refering to is Information Cleaing house, which is definitely left-wing in tone. And if you look carefully at the indpendent you will find many articles of pro-war tone besides people like Robert Fisk, who you will no doubt disagree with, but you would do well to read since his cases are fairly compelling.

JG,

First of all chief (that's a yank thing, similar to mate), I believe you misunderstand my problem with your post, it's not that I have sleepy dust in my eyes (though why I'm awake at this hour is beyond me), in fact I see all too clearly. Yes, the URL you provided in text was to the Independent, but the link provided in your signature line was to Information Cleaing House.

I've taken to looking beyond what people write when I question why they post, I find that the links people provide in the signature block give a good perspective on where they're coming from. In this case I believe we have something more akin to frequency drift than a true case of trolling, which is what I first presumed.

What y'all call left-leaning, most of would consider left-whacko. We poor ignerant 'Mericans is a lot more conservative than our English cousins. From your perspective the Independent is truly independent as far as Brit papers go. I'd say that was true if one were to compare the Independent to the tabloids, but compared to other broadsheets, like the Financial Times - a truly independent paper - I'd say not so much. Why do I say that - it's the lack of Fisk.

Any paper that employs that jumped up little turd grubber Fisk, well I wouldn't wrap day old fish with - might ruin the smell of the fish.

Just a perspective JG, from one of your simple 'Merican cousins.

Shepard Smith said, on air, that Fox was pro-war a few days ago in response to a viewer's email about their "bias." I'd rather watch a newsstation that puts their bias out front, because it's easy to see what is affected by the bias and what is not. It's not like they hide the fact that they're rooting for America. And so what if they are? Why shouldn't they? As long as it doesn't affect their reporting (and it doesn't), why shouldn't they?

Oh, okay, I do also watch it for the "fine fly ladies" too.

The left rails at FNC and claims it is biased, unfair and unbalanced. Wah!

AP, Reuters, NPR, Al Jezeera, NYT, Guardian, SF Chronicle, Michael Moore, Ted Rall, Dan Rather... no bias or spin there huh?

Shut up Libs!