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Bias

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The bias in the media is a very important issue and should be more openly discussed and examined. The media is the one place where a bias should not exist because people watch the news in order to be informed on important events, and the way the information is presented shapes their view. For example, Goldberg cites this in his book, Bias, when the news anchor makes fun of the Forbes flat tax idea. Instead of just presenting the idea of the flat tax, the reporter tried his hand at comedy, and ridiculed this idea, thought it may have been a bad idea that was not the way to describe it, the reporter's only job was to report on the facts. According to the news anchors, there is no liberal bias in the news; bias is in the eye of the beholder. Instead the real answer is that the news people don't see any liberal bias because they are mostly all liberal. However, it is not just a liberal bias that is the problem. Any kind type of bias is unacceptable in the news. Goldberg addresses all these problems in his book Bias, in the book Goldberg discusses that all news stories have bias to them, and sadly it is considered normal.

On Fox, the news show Hannity and Colmes does not have a liberal bias, but has a conservative bias. The first news anchor repeatedly referred to Democratic Senator Harry Reid as ‘Prince' Harry and Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as ‘Princess' Pelosi. These types of nicknames spoken in such a sarcastic manner are very demeaning to these people and are completely irrelevant to the story. The reporter needed to report on the facts, and not bash the Democratic senator and Speaker of the House. Then the first anchor was replaced with anther more liberal anchor, who immediately started to defend Senator Reid to the FMR Speaker of the House. Although what Reid had said was wrong, the reporter wouldn't admit and in that process lost the focus of the story, that Reid was trying to borrow millions of dollars to build a building for tourists and that he was attacking companies that needed financial help. So according to Goldberg this was a biased news report because the reporters used bad adjectives and their sources were only described as liberal democrat, no conservatives.

In Goldberg's book, Bias, he has three criteria to judge if a news show displays a media bias. They are: adjectives, coverage, and sources. Being more specific, in the use of adjectives, a reporter should never use the word ‘wacky' to describe a flat tax, or ‘that crazy Christian' to describe a prominent and influential Christian minister. In most newsrooms though it is common to use such adjectives and they pass as the norm. Those types of adjectives reflect the reporter's personal views way too much and should not be allowed in a news report. The news is supposed to be an impartial event. The second criteria is coverage. This includes what stories the news chooses to air and which stories the news chooses not to air; as well as how the stories are covered. A liberal news station would not do a story about a church group doing anything, even if it is a very important news story because to them a church group just isn't important news. The reporters are too much of elitists. They have lost touch with the common masses of people, and have started to think that everybody thinks exactly the way they think because that is how they and their friends think, and that is the only people they associate with. Maybe if the people working at the news stations went out and socialized for a bit with the normal people that they broadcast to every evening, this problem with the bias in the news wouldn't be so prominent. The last part of criteria is the sources and the way they are used in the stories. This means that when a news station wants an opinion on a Supreme Court decision they are not going to call up a Christian Conservative women's group, they will call up NOW a liberal women's group. They would not event think it necessary to get another opinion on the piece, as long as the opinion agrees with what they think.

There are many specific examples in Bias having to do with the liberal slant in the news, but two that Goldberg felt strongly about were Aids and Homelessness. With the Aids epidemic the news exaggerated all the data and basically lied to make people scared about catching the disease. The stations put up false data saying that heterosexual transfer was becoming more and more common, while leaving out the fact that they were having sex with people who were bi- sexual or IV drug users. They even had an Aids awareness show labeled the killer next door, making parents watching think that their teens stood a chance of getting the disease, even if they never had sex with any bi- sexual or IV drug user. The news never completely admitted to doing this and several of the higher ups in the company, who were gay, were extremely angry when Goldberg questioned their motives for this. The second issue that Goldberg thought was extremely slanted in the news was homelessness. With this issue, the news also exaggerated the numbers and put in ‘hidden homeless' college students or young adults living with their parents instead of an apartment of their own. The stations also tried to report on the homeless people as normal everyday people, instead of the drunk, rambling people we normally see. Only attractive families were put up on the TV and took a couple of years before the people in charge of the charities finally admitted that most people are homeless because they are alcoholics or drug addicts and so its their own fault that they are homeless. Another surprising fact was that when Bush was in office the problem of Homelessness was prominent, but as soon as Clinton took office the problem of homelessness just went away, then it was back again as soon as Bush W. took office. The news just decided to put it back up on the news as soon as a Republican was back in office. With the media, more people need to be informed of the bias in the news so that they can be aware of it. Once the viewers are aware of the bias, it is much easier to spot. The thesis is proved because when watching the news, the viewer develops the same feelings as the broadcaster and so the slanted news has affected the viewer's point of view. While it might be impossible to be completely impartial while delivering the news, it is possible to at least be polite and respectful of the people and stories they are talking about, and they should try to get more views worked into the newsroom. Goldberg thought that maybe his book might cause a ripple, but that in the end nothing would ever really change with the media elites, I hope that he is wrong and that something does change for the better.





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