Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Media bias in eye of beholder?

Cross-posted to my mass communications blogs. -- pe

There's a story in yesterday's Washington Post that we need to read, even though it relates to material we covered earlier in the semester and/or will come back to at semester's end. It's a column by media critic Howard Kurtz on right- and left-wing perceptions of bias in the news media. To sum it up briefly, maybe a little too briefly, Kurtz thinks the media are taking fire from both sides. And he implies, without coming right out and saying it, that's about where you want to be if you're covering the news.

Kurtz has been on the talk show circuit plugging his book on network news, and he said the talk show hosts "appear to be living in parallel universes." His column is a good overview of the issue, concluding:
Bobbing along on this swirling sea of opinions, I became increasingly convinced there is a place for newscasts that at least attempt to provide viewers with a straight set of facts. To be sure, these programs make subjective judgments, sometimes miss the boat and appeal to a demographic keenly interested in all those segments on back pain and hip replacements. But it would be a shame if, in an age of infotainment, the new generation of anchors can't find ways to keep their broadcasts vital as well as balanced. Without them, after all, there would be fewer targets for "The Daily Show" to mock.
Read it. Might be a good one to print out for later use, in fact. I don't know how long The Post archives its stories on the open website.

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