Thursday, October 09, 2008

Media Bias: How Much Evidence Is Enough?

Suppose you work for a major media outlet. A potential story breaks about a candidate--how much evidence do you need before you run with it? Run too soon and you might end up declaring fiction as fact. Wait too long and you might get scooped by other outlets if the story turns out to be true.

Should the amount of evidence you need depend on the political party of candidate? It shouldn't but it does. John at Powerline makes the following observation:
Just over a month ago, it was falsely claimed that Sarah Palin had been a member of the Independence Party during the 1990s. Media outlets jumped on that false claim and reported it as fact. The New York Times, to take just one example, printed the report and subsequently had to run a correction.

There is now strong evidence that during the 1990s, Barack Obama was a member of the socialist New Party, an arm of the Democratic Socialist Party of America. So far, to my knowledge not a single "mainstream" news outlet has followed up on this report, let alone immediately report it as fact, as they did with Sarah Palin.
Did you need yet one more example of media bias? Did it change your opinion on the issue? Probably not, on both counts. But I refuse to give up and just accept the media's unethical behavior.

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