“Bias” In the News Is Not A Primary Problem

Consider the case of the recent meme-joke (which I previously covered here) posted by President Donald Trump to his social media account which displayed a clip taken from a early 2000s WWE Wrestlemania event where Donald Trump clothslined Vince MacMahon who had CNN’s logo photoshopped over his head. Trump was therefore bodyslamming CNN.

Let us say we have three reporters covering that story, reporter A, B & C. Reporter A begins by saying that this is clearly a case of murderous intent, this is a case of the POTUS inciting the citizenry of the United States of America to violence against the press. Reporter B says the opposite, that the president was just having a little fun and it is completely absurd to make anything else out of it, indeed, it might even be insane to do so. Reporter C says nothing at first and merely present the video which everyone is talking about and then makes a statement but only a statement of relevant fact(s).

The first two instances (A & B) are clearly ones of bias, negative and positive bias respectively, whereas the third reporter (C) is the golden ticket of “unbiased” journalism.

I cannot recall I time when there has been more talk about “media bias,” everyone has gone over it, dissected it, critiqued it or dismissed it. There is undoubtedly very little to say so I shall try to keep this brief. The crux of the issue is of course not whether or not those in the news media are “biased” – they are and always will be – it is whether the information they present has been distorted by their bias. In every other case it falls upon, not the media, but the viewer to utilize their cognitive faculties to sift through the relevant information presented to them to discern whether or not the information presented to them is spun, outright false or truthful. Anything else is a personal failure of cognizance. If therein you are tricked, you well enough deserve it.

No one is forcing you to turn on the TV.