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In the age of Trump, media bias comes into the spotlight

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In the age of Trump, media bias comes into the spotlight




Almost 20 years ago, after my first book, “Bias,” came out, I made a lot of speeches, some of them to conservative organizations. The book was about liberal bias in the mainstream media. I had been a journalist at CBS News for 28 years and, so, it was a behind-the-scenes exposé about how the sausage was made, about how bias made its way into the news. 

I said that despite what many conservatives think, there was no conspiracy to slant the news in a liberal direction. I said that there were no secret meetings, no secret handshakes and salutes, that anchors such as CBS’s Dan Rather never went into a room with top lieutenants, locked the door, lowered the blinds, dimmed the lights and said, “OK, how are we going to screw those Republicans today?” 

It didn’t work that way, I said. Instead, bias was the result of groupthink. Put too many like-minded liberals in a newsroom and you’re going to get a liberal slant on the news.

Liberal journalists, I said, live in a comfortable liberal bubble and don’t even necessarily believe their views are liberal. Instead, they believe they are moderate, mainstream and mainly reasonable views — unlike, of course, conservative views which, to them, are none of those things.

But what I wrote and spoke about then — mainly about how there was no conspiracy to inject bias into news stories — seems no longer to be true today. 



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The writer is spot on, there was a bit more honesty, more introspective methods to approaching journalism back then, even if obvious bias. But we all know the circumstance leading to the media turning itself into the grocery store tabloid section at the supermarket. Mandates like the Democrats had in 2008 helped facilitate the rise of this. The instability that resulted was something I noticed, as I likened the instability to a train going off the rails, and it was part of why I told my wife in 2011, when she left it to me to decide whether she was moving to California or if I was going to Canada, I didn't like where the American political discourse was headed. I didn't foresee it becoming this bad, but the biggest mistake I made was believing other places were more harmonious. Not only did that political harmony quickly evaporate, but the result was less protections for basic things like speech, less room for actual tolerance and diversity, things that the US is slowly losing but for now are far from lost. The media in Canada since 2016 has been even worse. Here, the government funds media, and as a result, the media are their mouthpieces, the government literally dictates who the media are, thus who can report on things, and have arrested journalists even in public for having the gall to question and hold accountable politicians and public figures, while that same government sanctions that same media going underground to do stings and hit jobs on political opponents, something that easily gets undesired journalists arrested and worse.


Christ, I remember getting blocked on Twitter by a local version of NPR called 660 News, because I asked them to stop covering Trump and placating TDS more than they cover Calgary, Alberta, and Canada. Just got sick of "Trump" every 3 minutes in a place where he's almost irrelevant. These local radio stations, along with the other Canadian media, were literally running live coverage of the publicizing of the Mueller Report, the impeachment hearings, the Senate trial, and so on, with more in depth coverage than they'd ever have given any Canadian event, and with a comprehensive anti-Trump stance that would make The Young Turks jealous. 


I'd say FOX News coming to Canada would be a godsend and it would blow up the way news is done in Canada just having some competition with bite, but we already know how the Canadian government would handle it -- ban. Notably, the left have already covered this topic and they're already on board with this sort of authoritarianism. This is where one appreciates basic American freedoms while we still have them. The media clearly think they run the show, and democratic elections, for one, are just a narrated news piece they dictate. Comprehensively, we humans also get caught up in routines, become mindless to them. That includes the monotony of meritocracy. That meritocratic thinking has administrative staff in the executive branch (along with other bureau staff) thinking they run the government rather than the Presidents policies, the media thinking they run the American political discourse and decide who's popular (thus who wins elections), and the left feeling they're owed their way. It's a disturbing macro-level alignment of multiple segments that facilitates a huge chunk of public rot known as discourse.

Edited by Burnt Reynolds

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