Monday, June 27, 2005

Liberal Bias

I was having dinner with someone tonight who talked about the way reporting used to be - when a controversial issue was before us, we'd talk to a right-leaning person, but then report the rest. It looked like the reporter was filling in the other side.

Now, we have pundits and experts from each side that blur the lines, so that no one can claim expertise.

For example: The school funding issue. Minnis offers a plan. That's the right. The Lars crowd skewers it because it doesn't fit their agenda that schools get too much now anyway. But they never mention Minnis because she is much loved.

The Dems (the left) skewer the plan because they don't want an R to get credit for a school plan that helps Portland (their turf), and rightly claim it's not enough. The unions bark because it hurts the rank and file.

In the end, no one wins and Portland schools are back to ground zero - nothing. Especially since the outgoing board says no to an extension of the I-tax.

My point here is no reporting is moving the issue to a good conclusion, no commentary is helping find a middle ground (who reads the op-ed page anyway), and TV and Radio won't cover it until there is a "final vote".

Good reporting with context and mention of alternatives used to move readers, viewers and listeners to action. Now, it just lulls them to sleep.

Are we another responsible party in the school funding debacle?

30 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the big problem today is that the media feels it has to have balance by including equal comments from both sides of an issue, and no commentary on the validity of statements. One side or the other will offer a completely misleading statement on an issue and the reporter will do nothing to point out the mendacity, leaving the uninformed reader/viewer to believe that both arguments presented are valid.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 8:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree... we're so careful being fair, we sometimes give too much credence to a view that's just plain wrong and shared by very very few.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 9:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was a perfect opportunity to educate the public on the volatility of relying too much on income taxes for state funding.

Just throw up a chart of income tax income over the past 20 years (adjusted for inflation).

Easy visual, easy education, voters might actual start to understand.

Or, hey, ignore it. It's only our kids.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Nothstine said...

Good post. The way you've set up the problem sounds right: For structural [and economic] reasons, the media are now often as much part of the problem as part of the solution.

What to do? I know of some half-baked ideas; does anyone know of any fully-baked ones?

bn

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 10:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And people wonder why I homeschool.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 10:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"One side or the other will offer a completely misleading statement on an issue and the reporter will do nothing to point out the mendacity, leaving the uninformed reader/viewer to believe that both arguments presented are valid."

I disagree. If a conservative offers a misleading statement, we will trot out a pet liberal to point out the mendacity. If a liberal offers a misleading statement, that is what the public will read or hear with no conflicting view.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger The Manly Ferry said...

I take back any dubious comments I have made in other forums. Good post, great issue.

As I see it, we're moving to a weird media world. On the one hand, you've got TV news trending toward "news that to the point" and the fella on FOX News, Shephard Smith (I think), who does the news as quickly as possible - a format, I'd argue, that encourages, almost requires the shallowest he-said, she-said reporting (e.g. "The GOP plan would give less money to the schools, and Democrats and teacher's unions want more" - what's that tell you? close to nothing). On the other, you've got blogs, a medium capable of digging into any given story to the point of obsession. Unfortunately, often as not they do so from a particular, and particularly sharp, political angle.

Ideally, this is where the mainstream media would step in – print especially, where they've got the space to really dig into an issue. Moreover, as challenging as it is to do so, the mainstream media adheres, at least in theory, to a neutral perspective. But, sadly, they need to pay the bills in a competitive environment with a public increasingly convinced they don't have the time to dig (hence, they turn to local TV news to "stay informed"), or the blogs of one political stripe or another that pumps out their version of "the truth."

Long story short, we still need the mainstream media - or some neutral alternative - but they can't produce what the public needs economically.

So, that's the problem - at least as I see it. I wish I had an answer at the end of all that....

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 11:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Simp said...

"The Dems (the left) skewer the plan because they don't want an R to get credit for a school plan that helps Portland (their turf)..."

Your argument holds some weight if you look at it as a purely political soluntion vs. a serious school funding solution. There are major problems with the Minis plan.

If a conservative offers a misleading statement, we will trot out a pet liberal to point out the mendacity. If a liberal offers a misleading statement, that is what the public will read or hear with no conflicting view.

But of course, as a member of the media, you don't let this type of bias enter into your reporting? Or can you honestly say that your contempt for liberals doesn't taint your reporting?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 11:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a hard time believing that there's a TV reporter still out there who understands Oregon's school funding formula -- let alone someone with the time and talent to learn about it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 11:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems like there has been more than one national survey in recent years that reported somewhere around 90% of practicing journalists acknowledge having a "liberal" (okay, "progressive" if it makes you feel better) perspective. Does anyone think for a minute that this doesn't come out in the coverage? Is it any wonder that conservative/traditionalists feel just a bit besieged?

In a recent posting (different subject) on this site a respondent mentioned that every media outlet has an agenda. I hope they were either referring to an agenda to report the news fairly and accurately or, at the least, confusing it with bias as the literal interpretation means that George Orwell was spot on. So, is the problem with the raw product, the J schools, or groupthink within the organizations?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 12:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Show the poll of the owners of the media and program directors. They not the journalist decide the news. The conservative offer more for corporations owning the media therefore the coverage protects the conservative agenda. Take a look at any show with a guests. You get a far right conservative for the right and a moderate for the left. The left has absolutely NO voice in todays MSM. You will never hear a KBOO arguement on PBS, but you will here pat robinson or newt Gingrich or karl Rove.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 12:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most reporters and radio Gods have not spent more than seven seconds in a public school since they graduated. Their ignorance of public schools is amazing and second only to Julia Brim Edwards who is, and will always be, Queen Clueless.

Oregon today, kids: No sales tax, cheapest wine and beer tax, cheapest car tax ($15), cheapest biz income tax ($10), fewest number of state police in nation, and on and on, get it???

Of course not, you are lapdog media. WOOF!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 12:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Making insulting and ignorant generalities reallly help your cause. Jackass.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 2:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are a lot of people who are clueless when it comes to public schools, but Julia Brim-Edwards is not one of them. Julia has worked very hard as a Portland School Board member. Her decision not to run for a second term so she could spend more time with her family is a tremendous loss for the district.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 2:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone talked to Brim-Edwards about what it's like to know so much about the consequences of underfunding public agencies while being paid to make statements that Nike might abandon the Disneyland of Washington County if it's made to help support the Beaverton police who patrol all around it?

Obviously, you couldn't get her on the record, but it might be good background if you're plotting a murder novel. Or something.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 4:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That conservatives trot out that old saw about "liberal bias" is just so pathetic. Republicans control the message. Liberals roll over and wag their tails.
This comment:
"Seems like there has been more than one national survey in recent years that reported somewhere around 90% of practicing journalists acknowledge having a "liberal" (okay, "progressive" if it makes you feel better) perspective."
is right out of the Brent Bozell bag of dirty lies.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 5:26:00 PM  
Blogger truffula said...

The Dems (the left) skewer the plan because they don't want an R to get credit for a school plan that helps Portland (their turf),

Wait, I'm confused. Is this a post on media bias or a biased post by a member of the media?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 6:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why does the "o" carry Ohman and
Doonsbury and refuse to carry the very funny B.C. Strip?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 8:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It stopped being funny. I used to love it...clipped it...the dinosaur going "gronk" at the ground and getting hurtled into space...but it got preachy and religious and smug. I'd rather see it than its sister strip King of Id, all about drunks, horseshit, and executions...most days..

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 9:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not a post asking people comment on the biases they perceive from Portland media types? I've got a couple in mind, and I wonder if others have noticed the same.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005 12:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wizard of Id.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005 8:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The term "Progressive" is rapidly becoming synonymous with "fascist."

Wednesday, June 29, 2005 2:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't you have to be in power to be a fascist? Please think!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005 3:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hardly....Franco, Mussolini, Hitler, Saddam, etc. were all fascists long before they took power.

And what defines a fascist? Here are five criteria, all coincidentally characteristic of so-called "progressives"

1. The idea of the "ubermenschen." Not only are our ideas better than others', the superiority of our ideas make us better people.

2. We speak for the true majority of people, despite election results to the contrary.

3. If we win elections, it is because people have recognized the superiority of our ideas. If we lose elections, it is not because our ideas have been repudiated but because our opponents have corrupted the vote count and rigged the outcome.

4. Our political opponents are either uninformed, misinformed or part of a criminal conspiracy that fears us.

5. The acquisition and maintenance of political power and the destruction of opposition by any means necessary must always be foremost on our agenda.

Thursday, June 30, 2005 10:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Julia Brim Edwards is leaving a part time, volunteer job down the street from her Colonial Heights home to take a full time job at Nike in Beaverton and Salem.

So, how is THAT decision gonna help her spend more time with her family? Will she read to her kids over the cellphone as she heads home at 7pm from Nike's Beaverton Bunker, stuck in the tunnel?

Puhleeeze! Julia left for MONEY, tons and tons of hard, cold cash fresh from the Nike vault. And there's nothing wrong with that. Just be an honest Republican, Julia, not like when you were in DC shilling for a drunken Packwood.

Thursday, June 30, 2005 2:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 10:49 just described the republican platform

Thursday, June 30, 2005 9:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The US media, incuding the people in Portland news, is so far to the right they can't see straight... all they see is W's bony, white backside.

If the media was HALF as liberal as FoxyNudes says, the story of W's top abortion advisor, Neal Horseley, admitting ON TAPE that he screwed farm animals all day long, would be on the front page of every newspaper in America. It is on tape at www.alancolmes.com.

I have a crisp $100 bill on my computer table and I have challenged Peter Ames-Carlin-Whatever at Big O to run the " W's Advisor's First Girlfriend was a Mule" story, but guess what, he refuses. Even for $100.

What a surprise!

Friday, July 01, 2005 2:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give me a break. You can't stereotype reporters, photographers, producers or managers into a category of "liberal" or "conservative." Our newsroom has Bush-loving Republicans (who, for whatever reason, don't scream their viewpoints except for an occasional bumper sticker or a quiet comment at a morning meeting). But it also has Bush-hating Dems who actively draw cartoons demonstrating their disdain for the sitting prez. Granted, many of us live in MultCo, which would statistically imply that we're mostly Dems. Ultimately, we all have bias. To think we don't is just naive. It's how much we question our own bias in the process of covering stories; how carefully we check ourselves to make sure we're not working too hard to make one side happy. And I don't care how liberal you are -- getting called a corporate media whore while getting spit on by war protestors simply...makes you hate protestors!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005 2:10:00 AM  
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Saturday, October 21, 2006 8:58:00 PM  

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