Sunday, August 16, 2009

An Impartial Media?

As I prepare for a new school year, I am slowly starting to get my materials together.  I am trying to plan out the first few weeks of my classes so that I have everything at my fingertips when students arrive on September 1.  Since students won’t have textbooks for the first week or so of school, I have to do lessons that lay a foundation for the class, but don’t require a textbook to complete.

One of the lessons I am contemplating is one on media bias.  There are three views to media bias.  One view is that there is no media bias.  The illusion of media bias exists because of our own biases.  We see something happening in the world of politics that we believe that the press should be shouting from the rooftops, yet it doesn’t get mentioned.  Because of that silence, we see it as media bias.

Another belief is that there is conservative media bias.  It is held (obviously) by people on the far left side of the political spectrum.  They say that the media has a conservative bias because the TV stations, newspapers and radio stations are owned by corporations, and since business is (supposedly) in the hip pocket of the Republican Party, it is obvious (to those who believe in conservative media bias)that this would affect the neutrality of the media.  They believed that Bush should have been impeached and prosecuted for the Iraq war, and since the media did not take up that cause, it was proof that they biased.  They also have to point no further than Fox News for examples of conservative media bias (oddly enough, they cannot find examples of conservative media bias on MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, or NBC).

The third view is that there is a distinct liberal bias in the media.  This view is held by most on the right and many in the center.  One of the proofs of this was the way the media fell over each other covering the candidacy and now Presidency of Barack Obama with the attitude of a slobbering lapdog.

If you hadn’t figured out yet from my comments, I believe that there is a distinct liberal media bias.  This bias is even admitted by some “conservative” Democrats.  One great essay by one such Democrat is by Orson Scott Card, the science fiction writer.  In his essay “Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn Off the Lights?”, Card lays out a most convincing argument in favor of this point.  At one point he says: “Even though President Bush and his administration never said that Iraq sponsored or was linked to 9/11 … you pounded us with the fact that there was no such link.”  The point is made yet again, when he points out: “[Y]ou have participated in the borking of Sarah Palin, reporting savage attacks on her for the pregnancy of her unmarried daughter -- while you ignored the story of John Edwards's own adultery for many months.”

Despite my own personal belief, I let my students decide for themselves.  I allow them to examine all three points of view, and decide for themselves what they believe.  Should you want to look at the three articles: there are links below:

1 comment:

  1. I wish that my child was lucky enough to have you as a teacher. It is obvious from your post that you teach in an unbiased way that allows students to form their own opinions and that you don't ram your viewpoint down their throats. Last year my daughter had a very liberal teacher. When the teacher found out that my daughter was conservative, she spent the rest of the year singling her out for her right winged view on every topic. She also graded her papers very harshly. It was a long year.