Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Media Bias: The Solution?

In a change of pace, Glenn Reynolds wrote a (for him) long essay on Instapundit today in place of a quick, one-line post as is his norm. The subject of his post was how to fight the current media bias. While I am glad to see him give the topic press (excuse the expression) I can't say I find his suggestions entirely encouraging. He starts:
EARLIER, I promised some thoughts on what to do about the news media's outright campaigning for Obama. (And that's what it is. Media bias used to mean that the would slow-walk stories that reflected badly on their candidate; now they just flat out ignore them, or even try to shoot them down. They're not just in the tank, they're functioning as arms of the campaign, and Obama's strategy shows that he knows that and is relying on it.)
How depressing is it that his analysis is 100% correct, yet many people wouldn't agree with the statement. I have a lot friends who are Democrats and they all maintain that while CNN and MSNBC have a slight liberal bias, FoxNews is so conservative it should be a cartoon network, not a news channel. I have been encouraged this campaign to see polls where a majority of the people both see the bias and see that it is for Obama. That's a start, but only a start.

One of his suggestions I like:
If you want to have a media environment that isn't dominated by the Gwen Ifills and Keith Olbermanns of the world, you need to ensure that other kinds of voices flourish. That means supporting the alternatives with your eyeballs, your subscriptions, your advertiser-patronage (and you could write those advertisers and tell them you're happy that they're supporting that kind of programming, too -- they probably don't get many letters like that, so they'll be noticed) -- basically, your money. Businesses need money to flourish. There's a vast underserved population out there, for news, entertainment, movies, etc., and if people start serving it, the current "mainstream" media won't be so mainstream anymore. So if you're unhappy with current offerings, put your money where your mouth is.
This just might motivate me to follow his suggestion. At the moment I get all of my news and read all of my opinions online. I don't buy any magazine or newspapers--ever. But this doesn't give money to anyone. Perhaps it would be a good idea to give some support to a media source that is (at least somewhat) unbiased.

Glenn's other suggestion is more troublesome:
And if you're one of the people with creative interests, start making alternative stuff. Not just news and punditry, but entertainment, documentaries, etc. If An American Carol does well this weekend, it'll make it a lot easier for the next film of its type to be made. If Evan Coyne Maloney's documentary work does well, it'll encourage a lot more of that kind of work.

Think of it like cultivating a garden: Starve the weeds, feed the flowers. Like gardening, it's work. But like gardening, if you do the work you'll see results.
This is all very fatherly but it is quite an undertaking. What he basically suggests is to create media and entertainment and documentaries to rival CNNABCCBSMSNBC and Hollywood. That is no small order.

I mean, I have an idea for a SNL-like skit. Have Biden and Palin debating with Gwen Ifill the moderator. In between questions have the Ifill-look-a-like ask for short breaks where she runs to a closet off stage and services Obama. No more crude than what SNL already churns out and it makes the point. Now all I need are some writers, actors, a set, a crew, and network to air it on. I think it might be a while before I start competing with alternative content to SNL.

I don't know if I have any better suggestions than Glenn provides. I can say I'm frightened of an Obama presidency where the media makes no effort to report on anything negative and performs no investigative reporting. While I was never a fan of the attitude of the media after Watergate--in Hollywood investigative reporting was always a hero's duty and every government employee was corrupt and part of a grand, evil conspiracy. But the opposite of this--where the media is just an arm of the government and can be used to indoctrinate the population--is much, much worse.


knowitall said...

The solution for the media bias shown throughout this campaign is simple, turn the channel. Other than that, you'll have to watch majority of the media praise the left-wing illuminati.

Suze said...

I think the main problem with news sources today is how their "opinions" are still posturing as objective, and most people...other than the most gullable, are aware of that bias, so the fact that a "news" source is clearly dishonest diminishes anything that particular news source reports. What might work is for each news organization to declare its perspective, and thereafter provide its investigative reporting in that defense. Similarly, each news organization would do the same, presenting their argument, and it would be up to us, the public jury, to weigh each perspective and make our own ruling. This would save the integrity of the reporter, not pretending to be anything other than what they are, in this case ..either the prosecuting or defense reporter in each case. And the news organization which consistently made the best case for its perspective would rate more readers. I mean we all have an opinion about people and events, and although in an ideal world truly investigative reporting should be unbiased, the hitch is that the people who do the investigating have invested interests just like everyone else. So, if we could just accept that and pursue the truth by having our different news sources present their sides of the debate and let us decide.
Whaddaya think?