Thursday, May 28, 2009

Media Bias

The "oh they are biased" argument springs eternal, yet no one does anything about it. Why? Because that's what most people want. You'll hear a conservative Republican complain about the bias of, say, the New York Times or a liberal Democrat about Fox News simply because they hold the opposing view (let's assume their reporting is factual, which is a huge assumption). You won't see the Rep. complaining about his beloved Fox or the Dem. about NYT.

People don't want their views challenged, they want them reinforced and so seek outlets that affirm their beliefs. In Sunstein's new book Going to Extremes he talks about how polarizing the online news world is because we filter news into a "Daily Me" of only reinforcing information. I think this is absolutely true, but extends to traditional media as well as the web.

The solution is easy: get a wide range of views and begin coming to your own conclusions. Start reading some of that "garbage" from the other side. I would recommend getting a little news from each side the spectrum along with some international outlets. I, for example, use all of the following for my "Headlines" category in my RSS feeds: BBC, Reuters, NYT, NPR, Financial Times, Slate, and (occasionally) the Washington Post. Wall Street Journal used to be on there until they decided to start charging. I don't read every story, but I browse through them all.

In the end it comes down to wanting to challenge yourself and your views. I think once you get into the swing of things you'll appreciate the new perspective.

No comments:

Post a Comment