Friday, March 31, 2006

Media Bias

Reprinted from my post on DM Juice:

It isn’t everyday you get to blog on a website loosely associated with the state’s largest newspaper, so I feel compelled to issue a few parting shots at the Des Moines Register. Not like anyone from the Register would care what some two-bit blogger thinks; but hey, its Friday and my angst towards the rest of the world has tapered off this week.

About four months ago I stopped my Register subscription. Sure, I still pick it up from time to time at a convenience store, but I got tired of the slanted political commentary. The Register doesn’t have a single, local columnist that even slightly resembles a conservative, so there is never balance. Unfortunately, the Register is also one of the only sources for local news, so I am always torn whether or not to read it. It also doesn’t help that I am a news junkie.

To make matters worse, I have started noticing a growing tend of “news analysis” stories in the front-page section of the Register. News analysis articles are were the reporter breaks down whatever story they are covering and then tell you why it is important and why you should care. News analysis stories sound an awful lot like “editorials” to me. Maybe I missed the memo, but I thought news stories were supposed to be factual and void of supposition. It was my understanding that a newspaper is to present the facts and then let the reader draw their own conclusions. Then, if you don’t feel like thinking for the day, you can then turn to editorial section of the paper and have your thoughts spoon-feed. However, when the Register starts interjecting news analysis articles in the area usually reserved for straight news, it hard to tell where the facts end and the opinion starts.

I don’t want opinion in my news and I would like a little diversity in the editorial section. Is this too much to ask? Lets be honest here, there is never any counter balance in the Register to Richard Doak constantly praising socialism and Rekha Basu prattling on about the latest affront to abortion.

Back in the day, newspapers were decidedly skewed in one direction. Starting with the earliest days of our nation’s existence through the mid 1900s, certain newspapers were blatantly slanted towards a particular political party. They didn’t hide the fact and usually expressed their viewpoint somewhere on the front page. However, in today’s society all the newspapers try to act unbiased and I find it to be an insult to the intelligence of the American citizens that they do so. It is time for the nation’s newspapers to be honest with the public and drop the whole smoke screen of objectivity, because no one is buying it.

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