Newspapers should leave political filters off

By November 2, 2010


Letter writer Mr. Parker’s assertion that my letter exposing Obama’s signing off on torture made it seem as though it wasn’t going on before is absurd on its face. You would have had to be off the planet to have missed the literal years the mainstream media spent hammering Bush on this issue.

But his letter made me think of another problem that is rarely addressed, and that is media bias. No, not the overt kind where they actively support one ideology over another, but the bias of omission. This is the more serious and insidious kind since it is most often unnoticed. This is where the mainstream media simply doesn’t report a story.

There are many examples, but I will just list three high profile ones for examples. One is the case of the New Black Panthers in front of a polling place in uniforms and with nightsticks intimidating voters. This almost got no coverage at all until the Civil Rights Commission opened an investigation into it.

The second is the above referenced Obama signing off on rendition (torture) his second day in office. This got almost no coverage and was completely ignored by the Sacramento paper until one of their liberal syndicated columnists wrote an article condemning the Obama administration for what he called the “outsourcing of torture.” His article was the first mention of it in the Sacramento paper.

The third is the Van Jones case. Those depending on the mainstream media for their news didn’t even know there was a scandal until Van Jones, Obama’s green jobs czar, had resigned.

There’s a danger to our system when the media start to judge whether stories deserve print by whether they support the media’s political position. This may be one of the reasons that the mainstream media’s ratings seem to be in constant decline.

Thomas Jefferson said that if forced to choose he would rather have newspapers and no government than government and no newspapers. This position of Mr. Jefferson’s only works, however, when the papers don’t use a political filter in deciding what to print.



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