(FORUM) Bias in news

The following is commentary intended for discussion. Add your comments.

A long time ago (it seems), credible news organizations didn’t write this way.

News organizations used to think of themselves largely as neutral reporters of news– or at least willing to listen to and air various facts and views that do not necessarily align with one narrative.

At many news organizations, those days are long gone.

The headlines read more like what use to be found only in the likes of tabloids like The National Enquirer. They leave no doubt about how the reporters or the publications “feel.” Ideally, that should be none of our concern– and not their place to express.

It’s not only the headlines.

The stories themselves are rife with the opinion of the journalists and publications, unattributed “facts” that turn out to be false, and slanted paragraphs written in the omniscient viewpoint like those that belong in novels rather than news.

Where do you go to find the facts without the spin? How do you figure out whether something is true or not? What are you “go-to” news sources today?

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9 thoughts on “(FORUM) Bias in news”

  1. Sharyl and Full Measure Team,

    Journalism has suffered from the
    time Abraham Lincoln’s SECRET
    POLICE had threatened and beat
    journalists/editors who had opined
    ANY opposition to his call for war!—
    even destroying newspaper offices to
    advance his ECONOMICS-based –
    NOT to end-slavery! – warring
    against Self-Determination, the
    South :

    Our republic’s weak link is identified
    by what this scribbler terms:

    “Jumping Jack Journalists”—

    a derogatory term I’ve borrowed
    from John Swinton’s truth-telling
    criticism of his own newspaper/
    profession :

    “There is no such thing, at this date in the world’s
    history, in America, as an independent press . . . If
    I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one
    issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my
    occupation would be gone. The business of the
    journalists is to destroy the truth; to lie outright;
    to pervert; to vilify; to fawn at the feet of mammon,
    and to sell his country and his race for his daily
    bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is
    this toasting an independent press? We are the
    tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes.
    We are the jumping jacks; they pull the strings and
    we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our
    lives are all the property of other men. We are
    intellectual prostitutes.” -John Swinton ( 1883 )

    [[ Swinton was the former Chief-of-Staff
    of the New York Times, speaking before
    the New York Press Club—to toast an
    “independent” press. ]]


  2. Thank you for this, excellent point! I like One America News and your articles and books, of course!

    I try to get my news from many sources, and I look for money motives underlying the story. It’s sad how cynical I’ve become.

  3. Epoch Times
    Daily Wire
    The Michael Savage Show
    The Trish Regan Show
    Uncancellable with Christian Walker
    Dennis Prager
    The Rubin Report
    Mark Levin
    Charlie Kirk
    Larry Elder
    Dinesh D’Souza
    Dan Bongino
    Fox News

  4. I appreciate that SharylAtkisson.com reports the facts, unbiased, with its sources. Unfortunately, it does not investigate and report on all the current hot topics. I am left to read or listen to commentary to find out what is happening in the world. Here I feel I can trust what comes from Brett Hume, Bryon York, and Molly Hemingway.

  5. For general info, I read various articles at msn.com bec. they span the gamut, to a degree of course, of left to right views, including Fox News, Politico, and the MSM. That being said, I immediately dismiss much of what various authors write when they include their biased adjectives and adverbs (for instance, when was the last time you saw the word “radiation” without it being preceded by “deadly”?). That being said, I for years have had little respect for the vast majority of journalists, Sharyl, of course, and Howard Kurtz excluded (and a very few others – I love hearing Mollie Hemingway set the record straight when she’s a guest on Howie’s Media Buzz). Compare that to Lester Holt’s recent comments along the line of “balanced views are overrated.” I used to watch RT news for a more global perspective while in SoCal, but unsurprisingly it’s not available in conservative E. WA.

    As for truth, humans are generally incapable of distinguishing truth from fiction according to David Hawkins in “Power vs. Force.” I used his approach to determine whether the covid vaccine was beneficial for my body. I expected the test to be a disappointing “yes,” but was pleasantly surprised by the opposite answer. So was I biased by having an expectation vs. an opposing desire, or did they cancel each other out and leave me neutral? Doesn’t matter – either way, I have no compelling reason to get a vaccine, and barring one, it won’t happen. I don’t have to travel to Europe or anywhere else if that’s what it requires, and I’m not going to be swayed one way or the other by any “authority” or journalist who says otherwise, no matter how passionate they pretend to be about it.

  6. William C. Hubbard

    Great questions. I believe you’ll find that many people are using a variety of sources to keep track of developments, and then, to do a deep dive when needed. The sources I use are varied and too numerous to list. In general, I’m very careful to get input from a spectrum of thought. When the picture on a particular issue is unclear, I’ll keep digging and piecing things together until the understanding I assemble passes the common sense test. Their are some sources, like you, that I trust more than others. Other than the Good Lord, I trust nothing and no one completely…especially polls. Thank you for all you do.

  7. Ricki Tiki Tavi

    I could write a book on this topic…and you already have, Ms Attkisson! I’ll express a few insights reliant upon our ‘known’ history (a history that has also been published and promoted by the victors) :

    In today’s realm, we see what appears to be an information deluge; and it’s characterized by a spin/bias definition that goes something like this: Far Left, a little less Left, Center (sort of) and Right(which usually plays as ‘conservative’ in the mainstream dialog). Dennis Prager considers himself as a conservative, and yet, I hear common-sense pragmatism and logic when he elaborates upon most topics. I am a post Boomer, and I recall when classical liberalism seemed to characterize the perspectives I heard most often when I was growing up (and to my ear, Prager sounds like a classical Liberal). Democrats were once considered “liberal” when liberal meant ‘classical Liberal’. As the neo-liberal ideology was generated in tandem with the support for a technocratic class of Oligarchs, this has replaced representative government as we knew it (a direct threat to the first amendment)–apparent for those of us who grew up in the 1960’s.
    I also refer to the book by Chris Hedges, “Death of The Liberal Class.” This socio-anthropological distinction does affect the nature of corporate entertainment metrics–especially when considering the advertising dollar bottom line. Thus we get into the eco-financial matrix and the nature of predatory capitalism(or as it’s currently being taught at universities: the emergence of socialist/communist ideals as if they are somehow more equitable and fair for the workers.) How does this affect the news narratives? If human beings are defined as monetary units of measure (and they are. Consider Life Insurance actuarial tables) in a realm where the bottomline is always predicted as a profit quarter, then we have a self-perpetuating cycle of profiteering at the expense of collective well being. News tropes are little more than a product to consume and market and sell. Again–the topic of a Free Press requires a book or thesis in order to explore the history and nature of propaganda(Bernays is profoundly symbolic), narrative maintenance, and eco-financial matrixes. I might also mention the emergence of “yellow journalism” and the influence of William Randolph Hearst. We then enter the realm of the ruling elite and owners of the News Media. At last count, I read the stat that only 15 billionaires own the US corporate media.

  8. I do it the way I’ve always done it: listen to and read everything you can, or have time for, from all available news sources, and determine in your own well-reasoned mind where the truth lies.
    “A long time ago (it seems), credible news organizations didn’t write this way.”
    Nor did broadcast journalists talk that way. But, for the discerning eye and ear, their biases (left of center, almost always) still came through.
    Bernie Goldberg pointed this out way back in 2001 (or thereabouts) with his book, Biased:
    “In his nearly thirty years at CBS News, Emmy Award–winner Bernard Goldberg earned a reputation as one of the preeminent reporters in the television news business. When he looked at his own industry, however, he saw that the media far too often ignored their primary mission: objective, disinterested reporting. Again and again he saw that they slanted the news to the left.”
    I was a communications major in college studying journalism primarily (late seventies), and was somewhat dismayed to learn the way they could get their biases front and center, albeit disguised as professional news reporting. It had to do with their role as “gatekeepers”: They alone had the sole responsibility of determining what was and what wasn’t newsworthy, not the public, and it was they who determined what it was the public should be hearing or reading for consideration. All too often, it, whatever “it” happened to be. was pro left or anti-right, or if not, they could slant their reporting with loaded words and phrases, and/or words with negative connotations, to make it favor or disfavor either side.
    With the advent of the internet, their role as gatekeepers was practically destroyed, what with everyone now being able to be their own gatekeeper, and they’ve come out more and more from “behind the curtain” (Wizard of Oz reference) that cloaked their liberal biases heretofore.
    Very few journalists today, whether print or broadcast, follow what I call the Joe Friday journalism method: “Just the facts, ma’am,” (our host, here, being one exception), which is why I like to take it all in and make up my own mind.

  9. Chuck from Richmond

    Another way to vet reporter’s stories is to check data sources instead of media sources. It is still possible, for the time being, to find some sites with raw data to corroborate the claims of network presenters. For example, the media has ceased reporting COVID deaths. However, the current number can be found on Worldometer, 626,000, much higher than CDC reports. At that rate, 700,000 will be hit by the end of the year under the current administration.

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