J201 ?Bias? in journalism Raise your hand if you believe that the media is ?biased? What does that accusation mean? http://www.stateofthenewsmedia.org/2009/ http://www.stateofthenewsmedia.org/2009/ http://www.stateofthenewsmedia.org/2009/ http://www.stateofthenewsmedia.org/2009/ Recent charges of ?liberal bias? have a long history ? Spiro Agnew?s ?nattering nabobs of negativity? ? Richard Nixon cuts funding to ?elitist? PBS ? Evangelical activist groups, (?moral majority,? ?Christian conservatives?) during the Reagan years ? So-called ?culture wars? during Clinton years ? ?Academic Bill of Rights? claims (David Horowitz) Organizations which argue that the media have a ?liberal bias? ? Media Research Center (www.mediaresearch.org) ? Accuracy in Media (www.aim.org) Recent charges of ?conservative bias? also have a long history ? Government lies from Vietnam and Watergate ? Conservative think tanks sponsoring campus news ? FCC abandons the ?Fairness Doctrine? in 1980s ? Increasing conglomeration and concentration of media through the 1990s ? Accusations of shoddy reporting during the lead-up to the Iraq war Organizations which argue that the media have a ?conservative bias? ? Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (www.fair.org) ? Project Censored (www.projectcensored.org) But ?liberal bias? vs. ?conservative bias? is the wrong argument to have ? We conflate ?liberal? with ?Democrat? and ?conservative? with ?Republican? ? Many beliefs, like religion or environmentalism, defy categorization as either ?liberal? or ?conservative? ? We ignore the variations like ?fiscally conservative but socially liberal? ? Most people, when asked, say they are ?moderate?! ? Terms ?liberal? and ?conservative? are themselves biased (and change dramatically over time) What we should be asking: ? How do we define ?good journalism?? ? What factors contribute to the quality of journalism? ? What should you do when you find ?bad journalism?? What do we mean by ?good journalism?? ? production process? ? news agenda? ? truth value? ? marketplace success? What do we mean by ?good journalism?? production process ? news produced with or without a solid ?wall? between reporting, opinion, and advertising? ? news produced with or without deception of sources? ? news produced with or without anonymity of sources? ? news produced in-house or purchased secondhand? ? news produced by aggregation (blogs) or investigation? ? news produced through enterprise reporting or through partisan interview? What do we mean by ?good journalism?? news agenda ? news triggered in reaction to official events or in analysis of unobserved trends? ? ?informative? stories that make us better citizens & consumers, or ?entertaining? stories that draw us in and keep us watching? ? ?diverse? stories that expose us to new and/or disturbing ideas, or ?targeted? stories that reinforce our preexisting views? ? ?muckraking? stories that watchdog actions of powerful groups, or ?stenography? stories that replay views of powerful groups? What do we mean by ?good journalism?? truth value ? ?factual? stories based on evidence, or ?opinion? pieces based on ideology? ? ?objective? stories accurately portraying diverse POV, or ?slanted? stories misrepresenting all but one POV? ? ?balanced? stories including all possible POV, or ?representative? stories indicating majority/minority POV? ? ?analytical? or ?contextual? stories to evaluate evidence, or ?raw? stories to provide unedited details of events? ? stories that surprise us and challenge our assumptions, or stories that comfort us and reinforce our assumptions? What do we mean by ?good journalism?? marketplace success ? In the ?marketplace of ideas,? is the best journalism that which is approved of by the largest audience? ? In the ?economic marketplace,? is the best journalism that which results in the greatest revenue or profit? What should you do when you find ?bad? journalism? ? Consider scale: one article? one journalist? one newspaper? one media company? or all media? ? Consider history: a pattern, or an isolated incident? ? Consider intent: was mistake accidental? avoidable? ? Consider effects: who stands to gain from mistake? ? Consider yourself: do you harbor any biases? Greg slides - evaluating 'bias' in journalism
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