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Media Bias

Reviewing: Bernard Goldberg Bias  |  Rating:
James Armistead By James Armistead on
Badge: Author | Level: 2 | Other Entertainment Expertise:

The news media in America has a powerful control and influence over the people in this country. Not only do we turn to them for current events and stories that affect our surrounding areas, but we rely upon them to deliver the information to us without bias or prejudice. Too often, the opinions of a reporter; journalist, or even a producer are expressed in the contents of a story instead of them discussing facts and details only. We lsee the media as a resource that shares with us the important information about the health of our society and our country; the truth about politics in Washington, and for enlightenment on stories that show the changes in our nation. We do not expect that those who report the news isolate their newscasts with solely opinions and judgements instead of providing us the detail and allowing us to analyze the material on our own. The book, "Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News", offers a great insight into the failed reporting by the media over the last 3 decades. He outlines three major areas of reporting where journalists have forgotten the basic principles of honest reporting, and instead give viewers the presumed images and stories they belive most Americans want to see so they can invoke a calculated reaction from their audience. The author, Bernard Goldberg, takes care to not seem bias himself, but to give readers an exact account of his struggles with media moguls when he attempted to present them with a genuine concern he had for the liberal bias being displayed by the media. The stories he elaborates on, and the detailed accounts of conversations he had with several highly paid executives within large corporations such as CBS and ABC only leads me to belive that I should be more aware of the bias presented on television and in the newspaper.

Biases are represented in a plethora of ways. The most common form of bias is an opinion. A reporters duty is to educate the viewer on topics of importance for that region. Many reporters cover stories chosen by their editors or producers because they have researched what topics are most important to the viewers of that station. This should mean that the stories are detailed on the specifics of what has occurred and who partook. Too many times more features are added to those categories; which do not bear any relevance to the facts of the storyline. In this book, Bernard Goldberg, outlines a story that Peter Jennings covered for a congressional vote. As the different members of congress were entering in the congressional meeting he was announcing them by name. For the democratic or "liberal" members of congress, Jennings would solely mention their names and the states for which they represent; however, when he accounted members of the republican party, they were identified as "right-wing" conservatives, or he would mention how they voted on certain legislation. All giving the viewer the impression that the republican party were full of members who were uncaring towards the circumstances of the average voter. This particular type of bias we see often in the media when discussing differences between the two parties.

Goldberg also identifies biases within the storylines themselves. In discussing poverty and homelessness in America, he reveals the biases behind the decision-making process of who should be displayed on-screen as Americas' "homeless". He begins his account of this story by mentioning that the homeless people who were being reported on CBS are often depicted very differently than the people we see perusing the streets for change and food. He identifies the CBS homeless, as families of white; blond hair, blue-eyed poverty stricken victims, who have been unable to get the upper hand on life. Not because of any fault of their own, but due to the economy and the financial distress of business ventures. These businesses failed to give them a place within the company accompanied by a salary, and because of the business's failures these poor people are now homeless. This selective version of the homeless population is troubling. Goldberg explains that the trouble with this depiction is that it is in contrast to what they know to be true about the homeless population. In discussions with directors of homeless shelters and halfway houses, he was advised on many occasions that the majority of people who were homeless were repeat offenders; drug addicts, and those who could not control their budgeting and spending. Not just people who were down on their luck. They were people who had lost control over their lives and resorted to a path of destruction that concluded with their homelessness. This offers a very different portrayal than the one used by the CBS journalists. The homeless people they interviewed were your next door neighbors who ran into a few financial difficulties. He even described one story where they interviewed a family who was homeless, solely, because they had been forced to move back into their parents' household. They shouldn't have been considered homeless, but they were.

These biases are very real and affect our livelihood because it makes it difficult to decide which news resource to use as a foundation for gathering information. One may believe that a certain station provides an open-minded view into the daily challenges of life; liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; however, the reality is that we are shown what others want us to believe not what is real truth. This is a violation of the publics' trust in our news media and is one that cannot be remedied through a simple apology from the network. It is borderline blasphemy. Not really, but it is severe enough to call for more investigation into these reports. If they will lie about who is homeless, and the number of homeless people in this country, what else may they be fabricating? If they can demonize every republican congressman or woman and show how their conservative bias will ruin the states, who else will the media attack? We fear conspiracies and often mock those who believe they have uncovered one, and yet here is another example of how conspiracies that go unmentioned often fester and cause more problems for the nation in the future. I thank Mr. Goldberg for bringing to our attention the bias in our news media. I appreciate his efforts to share the truth when others were not inclined to do so. His work should be recorded as patriotic and inspiring, even though the actual writing is in need of serious improvement. I applaud his determination to bring the truth about reporting to light and am thankful that he followed through with his commitment to journalism. All journalists should read his book. It can only help them understand and improve upon their responsibility to the public.