The greenest and hirsutiest of all evergreen media hair-shirts is the perennial "Whither media bias?" column. Because these kids with their iPads and InstaGrams and 4,000 channels of teevee. Sure you can get Zane Grey Theater and Quincy, but WTF is Pawn Stars or Punchface or The Handjob Jeanette and Doctor Crank McZombie Mysteries of Space Hour? Oh for the days of Walter Cronkite, when chain-smoking men in suits would play it straight down the middle on one of The Free World's three network news channels.
And because of all these fresh horrors, TheMurricanPeople hate the media. Or something.
Fickle bunch, TheMurricanPeople.
At any given moment I can flick through those 4,000 channels and find ten different professional pundits with ten different and wildly conflicting, ex cathedra opinions about the true hopes and fears of TheMurricanPeople, but they all agree that their profession sucks and everyone hates them, which is why, with, every new phase of the moon, some newspaper somewhere rolls out another in-depth, soul-searching assay of their own navels.
Today, the short straw was drawn by the New York Times, which neatly divided the problem of media bias into three, equal parts --
The Young Black People view: The media routinely slants the news to slander and endanger black people.
Young Black People See the News Media’s Double Standard...This generation grew up seeing double standards. They saw a young black boy's photo captioned with "looting" in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when a white couple photographed in a similar circumstance wading in the water with bags of supplies described as searching for food. They see Amber Alerts go national with pictures and narratives about white children in peril, but rarely the same attention to deaths of black and Latina/o children. They see journalists asking, with a straight face, if #BlackLivesMatter is a hate group.
Given these patterns and incidents, why would young black people want to trust the mainstream news media with stories about their lives?
‘Trust’ in the News Media Has Come to Mean Affirmation
...But more important, the Internet has changed society's relationship with the news. For one thing, it’s enabled us to construct digital silos, battlements from which, like the French in Monty Python’s Holy Grail, we fire invective on the people below....But there is ample proof that the Internet has also really “leveled the playing field” between the most powerful and the least. Now the marginalized can speedily gather, demand recognition and challenge the prevailing narratives. This happens every day and it’s far better than the alternative....
And the Wingnut view: The terrible Librul Media Conspiracy is even more terrible and Librul than you imagined!
Liberal News Media Bias Has a Serious EffectTimothy P. Carney is the senior political columnist at The Washington Examiner, and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.News media bias is real. It reduces the quality of journalism, and it fosters distrust among readers and viewers. This is bad for democracy.Many prevailing biases exist in the U.S. news media. All news outlets are biased toward an eye-catching narrative. The Washington news media is biased toward Washington-based solutions. And the political press in the U.S. has an overwhelming leftward tilt, mostly on social issues, but also on economic matters.Conservatives aren’t imagining this bias...
In order of appearance...
...I agree wholeheartedly with the Young Black People view. Period.
..it is adorable that NPR still clings for dear life to slivers of Both Siderist flotsam in a storm-tossed sea of wingnut crazy (although they get points for at least mentioning the existence of Fox News.)
...and I can only assume that the Times decided to hand over a chunk of its "Whither media bias?" real estate to an AEI shill who works for the Moonie Times because former NYT columnist Bill Kristol was too busy handing out the Bill Kristol's Daddy Award to the "preeminent leader of the free world" at the annual AEI Cult of Moloch Box Social to dash something off for publication.
But as always, what is most fascinating is who the Times did not invited to comment on why TheMurricanPeople hate the media.
They did not invite me, or anyone like me, to contribute a few, well-constructed paragraphs on the subject of how decades of continuous lying and conspiracy mongering by the Right and wingnut-enabling-by-denial by the Beltway press has destroyed any possibility of restoring trust in the media.
Exhibit A: Any media organization which continues to employ an overtly dishonest Conservative killbot like Mark Fucking Halperin has given up any pretense of having any institutional interest in the craft of honest journalism (h/t Crooks & Liars):
You can build an organization around groveling hacks like Halperin or around honest reporting, but you can't have both.