Thursday, 16 October 2008

Selective journalism

Recently, I was watching a documentary about the private ownership of our news media; specifically, how it can (and does) affect the material that the consumer is able to access.

The example used in this case was Fox News. Its ownership by Rupert Murdoch, quite obviously influences its content -- and how it is presented. In recent times, it has become, rather than being objective, a proponent of a particular political viewpoint. Murdoch's views become those of the network, too. This is not necessarily surprising, and he is entitled to do whatever he wishes with his money and political clout. However, the problem arises because this particular viewpoint is not presented as being opinion, or even a report that may have particular leanings; it is presented as unadorned fact. Obviously, this is misleading. I'm not saying that the particular political conservatism is negative, but it should be presented for what it is.

I would have no problem, if someone were to admit that something was closer to an editorial, than to the news. If this is the case, it must be admitted to. Bias is not the issue, here. What's going down, is going down covertly!

I'm sure that somebody with liberal political views could make a very liberal news outlet, with the same results. Either way, it would not be news. The big problem occurs when something that is not news, is presented as if it were completely unbiased.

We are getting to the point now, in this western world, where news can be heavily embellished or pushed solely in the direction of a particular viewpoint, solely because the person who owns the station has money. And nobody knows any differently. The way I understand it, news something that is presented to the reader or viewer, with a little bias as possible.

News was once something objective. Maybe journalism can still be saved.

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