In the News


Looking at the News Through It’s Media Bias

By Vin Sparks

We have college students from the University of Wisconsin out to visit the office two or three times a year as part of our recruiting efforts.  We give them a presentation, show them around and then they are joined by an assortment of staff from the office for a nice lunch.  I am one of those people and it is my job to engage those students in conversation about their studies, plans, etc.

During a recent recruiting event I found myself discussing aspirations with a bright young lady who happened to be a Journalism major.  I asked her why she chose that field.   Her answer, “I want to change the world.”

Therein lies our problem.

Today, in order to effect the change desired, the rules of ethical Journalism are being assulted so that a particular view of things is advanced above other ways of seeing them:

  • A story about a politician,if they sit on the wrong side of the isle, is likely to be accompanied by an unflattering photo image.
  • Misleading headlines are routinely used to spin a story in the direction the editor of the paper wants it to go.  The accurate reporting is reserved for the middle or even the end of the article.
  • Story selection and placement are influenced by the political views of the staff.
  • Reporting with a blatant editorial slant has just gotten out of control.  Journalists do not seem to care anymore if their political biases are apparent in their writing.

Journalists are called upon to report the news, not to “change the world”.  But, modern Journalism has traded the sentiment behind, “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost”  (Thomas Jefferson) for that of, “The ends justify the means”.  (Niccolo Machiavelli)

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