Bias in reporting

Journalists Accused of Unethical Reporting and Bias

The media are frequently accused of being 'liberal' and biased when reporting on morality issues. They put labels right-wing organisations because they believe them to be outside the mainstream, but they believe liberals to be the mainstream. 

  • TV journalism has become a showplace for reporters with attitudes who treat certain people and ideas with disdain.
  • Media elites tend to mix with people who have similar views and they seldom really mix with anyone who believes differently.
  • Reporters covering hot social issues already have their own 'take' on the issues, and that is how they will report them.
Author Steven Brill once said that "When it comes to arrogance, power and lack of accountability, journalists are the only people on the planet who make lawyers look good."

Much of the bias in 'mainstream' media comes from stories that are not covered, and the terminology used.

Disability rights groups and organisations have been watching with growing anger and alarm as the murders of disabled people of all ages have occurred with what seems like ever-increasing frequency. The news coverage of these tragedies is also a cause for deep concern. Accused murderers of disabled people are often portrayed by reporters as loving, caring individuals acting out of compassion.

This is seen as denying the humanity of the victim and, by association, of all disabled people. This is similar to the propaganda used in Germany before the T4 programme was accepted by the German people.

Bernard Goldberg and "Bias"
In 2002, Emmy-award winning broadcast journalist Bernard Goldberg published "Bias: a CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distorts the News".

The book became number one on the New York Times best-seller list. In 2004, Goldberg published a sequel, "Arrogance: Rescuing America from the Media Elite."

Goldberg stated that it wasn't easy naming names, but that he kept thinking of "how my colleagues treat cigarette, tire, oil, and other company executives in the media glare." He went on to say, "The news business deserves the same hard look, because it is even more important."
Goldberg noticed that the language used to describe the tax plan were expressly designed to conjure up images of con artists.

After talking to the executive producer of the CBS Evening News, Goldberg told him that after complaining privately about bias at CBS News for years, he was going to write about it. He thought that might be what it would take to make the people who decide what gets on the air listen.

The flak Goldberg received from his media colleagues came swiftly after the publication of his exposé . He was accused of being a political activist with a political agenda.

"Maybe I should have seen the humor in the whole thing. I was pointing fingers at the media elites, which only proved to them that I was the one who had a bias problem. Wasn't this what used to happen - on a much scarier and devastating scale, for sure - in the old Soviet Union? A dissident says the elite are corrupt, so the elites throw him in the Gulag because his accusation proves beyond any doubt...that the dissident is insane."
"Liberal bias in the news is mainly not about politics. It's mostly about how they see the world. Not intentional. Not a conspiracy. It's just the way these people are."

"And then they go out and they interview somebody ? and the conservative point of view is very often the other side of the argument. There is a main side and an other side. The main side in affirmative action, for instance, is that affirmative action is a wonderful thing. The main side in gay marriage is who would be against gay marriage except some bigot. And then they go out and they find that other side. Because otherwise it would be so blatantly biased that they couldn't get away with it."

Goldberg explains that the media puts a warning label, 'conservative' on right-wing organisations because they consider those organisations to be outside the mainstream. They rarely label left-wingers as 'liberal,' on the other hand, because they believe that liberals are the mainstream.

Traditionally, a conservative person was one who wanted to maintain the status quo, while a liberal person was someone who was open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others, and broad-minded. Given this definition, it would be more accurate to refer to mainstream media as biased rather than liberal.

Source:Bias: a CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distorts the Newsby Bernard Goldberg. publ.2002