promoting the unwanted, redheaded stepchild that is individual liberty

The illusion of media objectivity and the illusion of media partisanship PART II

In media on November 4, 2009 at 12:38 am

In my humble opinion, the push for an “unbiased” media is intentional. While smaller, non-mainstream media and local media strive to provide fair coverage and unbiased reporting, the media conglomerates that own CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and others barley try, if at all, to conceal their bias’. Whether it’s Bill O’Reilly labeling liberals as “pinheads” and conservatives as “patriots” or  MSNBC’s recent promo “Watch MSNBC, and experience the power of change,” the mainstream media’s claim of objective reporting is laughable.

But does the average American really believe his network of choice to be “fair and balanced?” The fact that Americans have a preference as to what news source they listen to is proof bias exist. Conservatives trust Fox because Fox tells them what they already believe and what they want to believe. Same goes for the liberals. 

For this reason, I disagree with Hunter’s conclusion. Hunter decides that both left and right news sources should embrace their role as partisan watchdogs and shamelessly attack the other side. He concludes that:

“As the Democrats proceed with arguably the most ambitious big government agenda in history, conservatives should hope for a more explicitly partisan Fox News — completely on the outs with the president — that might monitor that ‘center of power’ that is Obama’s Washington, D.C. MSNBC and CNN certainly aren’t going to do it. Fox should do to Obama what MSNBC and CNN should have done to Bush — attempt to cripple the president’s agenda by actually reporting on it.

Forget objectivity; how about some actual productivity, in which partisan media outlets might finally do a competent job of keeping an eye on the other party?

And far from being offended by the recent White House snub, Fox News should do America a favor by embracing its explicitly partisan role as an enemy of Obama’s state.”

Hunter’s naivety lies in the fact that he believes these mainstream news sources to be watchdogs. Fox News is not “Obama’s enemy of the State.” True, Fox News’ reporters are constantly attacking the President and his “liberal” policies, but their rhetoric does little more than inflame the emotions of knee-jerk conservatives. Words like communism, socialism, and liberalism and criticism aimed at Nancy Pelosi and leading Democrats, do little to actually inform the public.

Rather, Fox News, like its competitors, meets a demand. And the way in which it meets the demand does not lead to meaningful, intellectual discovery by its viewers.

The same was true for Keith Olbermann and the rest of the “liberal” media during the Bush years. While Olbermann was justified in many of his railings against the Bush administration, his reporting did little to serve the intellect of the American people. More importantly, Olbermann helped to further draw the imaginary lines between left and right and perpetuate MSNBC’s  facade as a partisan media watchdog.

If Americans truly desire unbiased reporting, good luck. Such a source does not exist. But if Americans want to discover the “real” news — that which they are not being told, they need to turn off their TV’s and search for small, independent news sources. The internet has opened the door to a plethora of such sources. Like these independent news sources, local media would be doing itself and the public a favor if it embraced its role as a true, admittedly bias, watchdog.

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