The case for media bias
: Tim Rutten, the media critic of the LA Times, gets it wrong in so many ways.
Writing this weekend about media impartiality, he says the coming election is “a referendum not only on America’s political future but also on the direction of its news media.”
At issue is the question being posed with increasing frequency by right- and left-wing partisans: Have the American media simply failed in their decades-long effort to separate facts from opinions and to make impartial reporting the governing ethic of their news columns? Or, alternatively, has American society’s changed nature simply made the whole project irrelevant?
Or, alternatively, are American media finally and simply catching up to the reality of what their audiences want?
You see, for years and years, it was assumed that American TV viewers wanted really dumb sitcoms because that’s all that networks fed them and that’s all they watched. But when, at long last, viewers were given quality choices — Cosby (in his early years only), Hill St. Blues, Cheers — they watched the quality shows.
News consumers in the U.S. have been fed only attempts at impartiality or objectivity. But now they have choices; they can watch FoxNews and read the Guardian and click on weblogs — and they do. So perhaps all along, that’s what news consumers have wanted: not dull attempts at impartiality but perspective honestly revealed, bias admitted, opinion included.
Rutten gets one thing right: Bias is a nonissue in most reporting:
There is a certain kind of bright but brittle mind that loves this sort of either/or thinking. What such minds cannot accept is the common-sensical notion that real life