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black321

black321 Avatar

Location: An earth without maps
Gender: Male


Posted: Jul 29, 2016 - 10:16am

 Lazy8 wrote:
steeler wrote:
Are you saying that you deduced these kinds of conclusions based on news coverage you have read, or that you have read that reporters and editors routinely do these kinds of things?

Yes, and from conversations with journalists, and by comparing events I'm very familiar with to the stories that get reported about them.

Reporters and editors are human, just like you. They respond to incentives, they deal with the social situations at work. The journalistic profession leans farther to the left than the population as a whole—this has been confirmed so many times that it's silly to argue about it. Can we really expect that this will have no effect at all?

 
Disregarding the party affiliation, but shouldn't reporting naturally swing to the left?  Having a more progressive rather than conventional view of society?
steeler

steeler Avatar

Location: Perched on the precipice of the cauldron of truth


Posted: Jul 29, 2016 - 10:14am

 Lazy8 wrote:
 ScottFromWyoming wrote:
Every person has biases. It is meaningless to say "that reporter is biased" or "that news program is unbiased" because every human thing has bias. Toss a dime in the air and count how many times it comes to rest standing on its edge. That's how many people are without bias—and if it happens that you find this person, it's still just a fluke. And they're just as likely to be a plumber as a politician or reporter.
 
The best we can hope for is a reporter or politician who is aware of their biases and takes steps to ameliorate them. For a politician, surrounding themselves with something other than yes-men is a good approach: develop policy in a room full of people of differing backgrounds. For a reporter, it can be harder, because things go online in such haste these days, but in the old days of a slow news cycle, editorial meetings would be held and the reporter told to get a statement from so-and-so, or include some background information on this person or that...
 
So anyway, I think we're using "bias" here when what we really mean is the politician or news outlet has an agenda. 

I'm not. I assume every story comes to me thru a filter, a worldview, a philosophy, a set of assumptions. And this is trivially true—I'm reading the story in English, the reporter assumes I read English, for instance.

Those assumptions change not just the shape of the story but the stories that get told. Nowhere was this more obvious than in reporting on Ferguson, MO. A lot of it focused on the event that kicked off the protests: the shooting of Michael Brown and whether or not it was justified. Others reported on the damage done by the rioting, or the behavior of the police, or how connected all this was to other shootings of other black men. There was more to the story, of course—there was a deep well of anger that didn't dissipate when a thorough investigation showed that the shooting was, in fact, justified and that many of the eyewitness reports were wrong. There was (and is) a lot wrong in that part of Missouri and the people who live there still face it.

It is possible to get a broad picture of the area and the events, but you have to use more than one source, look at the story thru more than one lens. And sometimes it takes time to get that picture, even if a source you trust tells you everything it can learn at the moment, more will emerge. Not all news outlets give their reporters that time and not all of them give later revelations the space they deserve.

So no, I don't mean agenda, I mean bias. And I don't see it as a condemnation, I see it as inherent in the process and something it's my responsibility as an informed citizen to be aware of and compensate for.

 
I was on board with you through the middle of this post, but disagree with your conclusion of bias.  There are many explanations for why coverage would differ.  How many reporters can a newspaper assign to the story?  Each reporter from the same newspaper would be searching for different angles on the story.  The more stories, the more varied the coverage.  There also are space considerations on any given day, and judgments to be made on how much space to devote to each story.  That some stories get more play than others is not necessarily evidence of bias in favor or against something.  That fast-breaking stories evolve over time is a given; inaccuracies in early reporting can happen, but that is not intentional.  If what you are talking about is that an enterprising reporter may see and report on an angle that may not have occurred to another reporter, and that this may partially be due to differences in experiences of those reporters, I could sign on.  But if you take it a step further and say the first reporter had a different angle because he is trying to sell one outcome or viewpoint while the second reporter that did not report on that angle is trying to sell an opposing outcome or viewpoint, I would not sign on.

 

         


Lazy8

Lazy8 Avatar

Location: The Gallatin Valley of Montana
Gender: Male


Posted: Jul 29, 2016 - 10:10am

steeler wrote:
Are you saying that you deduced these kinds of conclusions based on news coverage you have read, or that you have read that reporters and editors routinely do these kinds of things?

Yes, and from conversations with journalists, and by comparing events I'm very familiar with to the stories that get reported about them.

Reporters and editors are human, just like you. They respond to incentives, they deal with the social situations at work. The journalistic profession leans farther to the left than the population as a whole—this has been confirmed so many times that it's silly to argue about it. Can we really expect that this will have no effect at all?
ScottFromWyoming

ScottFromWyoming Avatar

Location: Powell
Gender: Male


Posted: Jul 29, 2016 - 10:02am

 Lazy8 wrote:


So no, I don't mean agenda, I mean bias. And I don't see it as a condemnation, I see it as inherent in the process and something it's my responsibility as an informed citizen to be aware of and compensate for.

 
Yes, exactly. Nevermind my agenda stuff. It was too broad and not worth cleaning up.
 
Lazy8

Lazy8 Avatar

Location: The Gallatin Valley of Montana
Gender: Male


Posted: Jul 29, 2016 - 9:57am

 aflanigan wrote:
Which means they probably give the first word to Checker Finn or some other proponent of privatized schooling.

Are you saying they must flip a coin to decide who goes first? 

I didn't pick this example to push your buttons (not that, truth be told, I really mind) just to highlight an issue where the news outlet's bias is most obvious.

Look at the language: school choice vs. privatized schooling. School choice doesn't imply privatization, but look where you went with it, and look where NPR goes with it.

NPR is probably my most-used news source. I like them a lot. But they come with implicit biases, biases I need to be aware of if I'm going to be informed on the issues.
Lazy8

Lazy8 Avatar

Location: The Gallatin Valley of Montana
Gender: Male


Posted: Jul 29, 2016 - 9:51am

 ScottFromWyoming wrote:
Every person has biases. It is meaningless to say "that reporter is biased" or "that news program is unbiased" because every human thing has bias. Toss a dime in the air and count how many times it comes to rest standing on its edge. That's how many people are without bias—and if it happens that you find this person, it's still just a fluke. And they're just as likely to be a plumber as a politician or reporter.
 
The best we can hope for is a reporter or politician who is aware of their biases and takes steps to ameliorate them. For a politician, surrounding themselves with something other than yes-men is a good approach: develop policy in a room full of people of differing backgrounds. For a reporter, it can be harder, because things go online in such haste these days, but in the old days of a slow news cycle, editorial meetings would be held and the reporter told to get a statement from so-and-so, or include some background information on this person or that...
 
So anyway, I think we're using "bias" here when what we really mean is the politician or news outlet has an agenda. 

I'm not. I assume every story comes to me thru a filter, a worldview, a philosophy, a set of assumptions. And this is trivially true—I'm reading the story in English, the reporter assumes I read English, for instance.

Those assumptions change not just the shape of the story but the stories that get told. Nowhere was this more obvious than in reporting on Ferguson, MO. A lot of it focused on the event that kicked off the protests: the shooting of Michael Brown and whether or not it was justified. Others reported on the damage done by the rioting, or the behavior of the police, or how connected all this was to other shootings of other black men. There was more to the story, of course—there was a deep well of anger that didn't dissipate when a thorough investigation showed that the shooting was, in fact, justified and that many of the eyewitness reports were wrong. There was (and is) a lot wrong in that part of Missouri and the people who live there still face it.

It is possible to get a broad picture of the area and the events, but you have to use more than one source, look at the story thru more than one lens. And sometimes it takes time to get that picture, even if a source you trust tells you everything it can learn at the moment, more will emerge. Not all news outlets give their reporters that time and not all of them give later revelations the space they deserve.

So no, I don't mean agenda, I mean bias. And I don't see it as a condemnation, I see it as inherent in the process and something it's my responsibility as an informed citizen to be aware of and compensate for.
aflanigan

aflanigan Avatar

Location: At Sea
Gender: Male


Posted: Jul 29, 2016 - 9:51am

 Lazy8 wrote:

Go ahead and find an article on school choice on NPR that doesn't give the last word to the teachers union. 

 
Which means they probably give the first word to Checker Finn or some other proponent of privatized schooling.

Are you saying they must flip a coin to decide who goes first? 
steeler

steeler Avatar

Location: Perched on the precipice of the cauldron of truth


Posted: Jul 29, 2016 - 9:35am

 Lazy8 wrote:
 steeler wrote:
And you know these things how? 

I can read.

 
 So you fall into a familiar pattern that minimizes the cognitive dissonance in the audience.

And the reporter in question will have to justify that story to skeptical editors every time, and better not make a habit of it.

 

Are you saying that you deduced these kinds of conclusions based on news coverage you have read, or that you have read that reporters and editors routinely do these kinds of things?

 

  




Lazy8

Lazy8 Avatar

Location: The Gallatin Valley of Montana
Gender: Male


Posted: Jul 29, 2016 - 9:24am

 steeler wrote:
And you know these things how? 

I can read.
sirdroseph

sirdroseph Avatar

Location: Not here, I tell you wat
Gender: Male


Posted: Jul 29, 2016 - 9:06am

 ScottFromWyoming wrote:
Every person has biases. It is meaningless to say "that reporter is biased" or "that news program is unbiased" because every human thing has bias. Toss a dime in the air and count how many times it comes to rest standing on its edge. That's how many people are without bias—and if it happens that you find this person, it's still just a fluke. And they're just as likely to be a plumber as a politician or reporter.
 
The best we can hope for is a reporter or politician who is aware of their biases and takes steps to ameliorate them. For a politician, surrounding themselves with something other than yes-men is a good approach: develop policy in a room full of people of differing backgrounds. For a reporter, it can be harder, because things go online in such haste these days, but in the old days of a slow news cycle, editorial meetings would be held and the reporter told to get a statement from so-and-so, or include some background information on this person or that...
 
So anyway, I think we're using "bias" here when what we really mean is the politician or news outlet has an agenda. 

 




Very good point.
steeler

steeler Avatar

Location: Perched on the precipice of the cauldron of truth


Posted: Jul 29, 2016 - 8:57am

 Lazy8 wrote:
 steeler wrote:
Most people do their jobs — despite of any prejudice or bias a person may harbor.  I might dislike a work colleague, but that does not mean I am not going to work with that person to the best of my ability to get the job done in a professional manner.  A physician may actually be a bit of a racist; does not mean the physician is not going to do his job and save the life of a member of the minority that the physician considers to be inferior.    

Edit:  Pardon the double negatives — too lazy to edit.


We also ask people to set aside biases when they serve on juries. And (having served on a few juries) they by and large try—but if you took the case of a black defendant whose fate was decided by an all-white jury of Trump supporters, would you not prepare an appeal?

Yet we're expected to believe that a newspaper story shows no effect of the reporter's prejudices with much less at stake and a friendly audience who shares those prejudices.

Sure, they try. But they are selling words to an audience, an audience with little patience for thoughts that contradict their prejudices. You tell them the wrong kind of story and they stop reading. You give them a perspective on that story they don't want to hear and they claim bias...and stop reading. So you fall into a familiar pattern that minimizes the cognitive dissonance in the audience.

Go ahead and find an article on school choice on NPR that doesn't give the last word to the teachers union. Find a Fox News story with any sympathy for the people of Gaza. There may be a couple, but they will be buried under a mountain of others with the opposite slant. And the reporter in question will have to justify that story to skeptical editors every time, and better not make a habit of it.

 
And you know these things how?  

It was a long time ago, but when I was working as a journalist, those kind of thoughts never crossed my mind — and no one asked me to change or slant stories to better fit the viewpoints of a particular set of readers. Nor did I ever hear any of my colleagues talk about having to alter stories to appease a particular set of readers.  

 Edit:  Journalists are trained to be objective; there are tools one uses, and procedures one follows.  The process involves others — editors — part of whose job it is to point out and challenge unsupported parts of a reporter's story. Jurors are instructed to be impartial, but they have not undergone training for being a juror.          




ScottFromWyoming

ScottFromWyoming Avatar

Location: Powell
Gender: Male


Posted: Jul 29, 2016 - 8:53am

Every person has biases. It is meaningless to say "that reporter is biased" or "that news program is unbiased" because every human thing has bias. Toss a dime in the air and count how many times it comes to rest standing on its edge. That's how many people are without bias—and if it happens that you find this person, it's still just a fluke. And they're just as likely to be a plumber as a politician or reporter.
 
The best we can hope for is a reporter or politician who is aware of their biases and takes steps to ameliorate them. For a politician, surrounding themselves with something other than yes-men is a good approach: develop policy in a room full of people of differing backgrounds. For a reporter, it can be harder, because things go online in such haste these days, but in the old days of a slow news cycle, editorial meetings would be held and the reporter told to get a statement from so-and-so, or include some background information on this person or that...
 
So anyway, I think we're using "bias" here when what we really mean is the politician or news outlet has an agenda. 
Lazy8

Lazy8 Avatar

Location: The Gallatin Valley of Montana
Gender: Male


Posted: Jul 29, 2016 - 8:44am

 steeler wrote:
Most people do their jobs — despite of any prejudice or bias a person may harbor.  I might dislike a work colleague, but that does not mean I am not going to work with that person to the best of my ability to get the job done in a professional manner.  A physician may actually be a bit of a racist; does not mean the physician is not going to do his job and save the life of a member of the minority that the physician considers to be inferior.    

Edit:  Pardon the double negatives — too lazy to edit.


We also ask people to set aside biases when they serve on juries. And (having served on a few juries) they by and large try—but if you took the case of a black defendant whose fate was decided by an all-white jury of Trump supporters, would you not prepare an appeal?

Yet we're expected to believe that a newspaper story shows no effect of the reporter's prejudices with much less at stake and a friendly audience who shares those prejudices.

Sure, they try. But they are selling words to an audience, an audience with little patience for thoughts that contradict their prejudices. You tell them the wrong kind of story and they stop reading. You give them a perspective on that story they don't want to hear and they claim bias...and stop reading. So you fall into a familiar pattern that minimizes the cognitive dissonance in the audience.

Go ahead and find an article on school choice on NPR that doesn't give the last word to the teachers union. Find a Fox News story with any sympathy for the people of Gaza. There may be a couple, but they will be buried under a mountain of others with the opposite slant. And the reporter in question will have to justify that story to skeptical editors every time, and better not make a habit of it.
miamizsun

miamizsun Avatar

Location: (3283.1 Miles SE of RP)
Gender: Male


Posted: Jul 29, 2016 - 7:05am

it's literally the definition of politics...

bi·as
ˈbīəs/
noun
noun: bias; plural noun: biases
  1. 1.
    prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair.
    "there was evidence of bias against foreign applicants"
    synonyms:prejudice, partiality, partisanship, favoritism, unfairness, one-sidedness;More
    antonyms:impartiality
    • a concentration on or interest in one particular area or subject.
      "he worked on a variety of Greek topics, with a discernible bias toward philosophy"
    • Statistics
      a systematic distortion of a statistical result due to a factor not allowed for in its derivation.
  2. 2.
    in some sports, such as lawn bowling, the irregular shape given to a ball.
    • the oblique course taken by a ball as a result of its irregular shape.
  3. 3.
    Electronics
    a steady voltage, magnetic field, or other factor applied to an electronic system or device to cause it to operate over a predetermined range.
verb
verb: bias; 3rd person present: biases; past tense: biased; past participle: biased; gerund or present participle: biasing
  1. 1.
    cause to feel or show inclination or prejudice for or against someone or something.
    "readers said the paper was biased toward the conservatives"
    synonyms:prejudice, influence, color, sway, weight, predispose;More
    "this may have biased the result"
    distorted, warped, twisted, skewed
    "a biased view of the situation"
    antonyms:impartial
  2. 2.
    give a bias to.
    "bias the ball"



steeler

steeler Avatar

Location: Perched on the precipice of the cauldron of truth


Posted: Jul 29, 2016 - 6:51am

 sirdroseph wrote:
 steeler wrote:

The question is not whether a person has a particular bias.  It is whether the person acts in accordance with that bias.   

 
Yep, you're a lawyer. ;-) I submit that it is virtually impossible to deny one's very essence and this is manifest anywhere from a subtle nuance to full blown prejudice in everything that we do. We are all individuals even if that individuality is to be a lock step follower of a group or one who fiercely rejects the majority opinion whenever they can by virtue of a rebellious personality. In short, we do who we are.

 
Most people do their jobs — despite of any prejudice or bias a person may harbor.  I might dislike a work colleague, but that does not mean I am not going to work with that person to the best of my ability to get the job done in a professional manner.  A physician may actually be a bit of a racist; does not mean the physician is not going to do his job and save the life of a member of the minority that the physician considers to be inferior.    

Edit:  Pardon the double negatives — too lazy to edit.


sirdroseph

sirdroseph Avatar

Location: Not here, I tell you wat
Gender: Male


Posted: Jul 29, 2016 - 6:41am

 steeler wrote:

The question is not whether a person has a particular bias.  It is whether the person acts in accordance with that bias.   

 




Yep, you're a lawyer. ;-) I submit that it is virtually impossible to deny one's very essence and this is manifest anywhere from a subtle nuance to full blown prejudice in everything that we do. We are all individuals even if that individuality is to be a lock step follower of a group or one who fiercely rejects the majority opinion whenever they can by virtue of a rebellious personality. In short, we do who we are.
steeler

steeler Avatar

Location: Perched on the precipice of the cauldron of truth


Posted: Jul 29, 2016 - 6:31am

 sirdroseph wrote:
To deny bias is to deny being human, I am not prepared to do that yet until the Cylons take over.

 
The question is not whether a person has a particular bias.  It is whether the person acts in accordance with that bias.   
sirdroseph

sirdroseph Avatar

Location: Not here, I tell you wat
Gender: Male


Posted: Jul 29, 2016 - 5:20am

To deny bias is to deny being human, I am not prepared to do that yet until the Cylons take over.
kurtster

kurtster Avatar

Location: where fear is not a virtue
Gender: Male


Posted: Jul 29, 2016 - 2:29am

 ScottFromWyoming wrote:
 kurtster wrote:

Opinions were not allowed and editorials were rare and very carefully presented when they were...
 
This clip does double duty! Speaks to this statement, and also seems apropos for this thread. 
 
 

 
Not sure how it speaks to my statement regarding opinions and editorials in straight news.  This clip is not from a straight news program.  It is from the show, See It Now, a forerunner of 60 Minutes if you will.

Here's an expanded look at the show the clip above came from. 




Yibbyl

Yibbyl Avatar

Location: Gaäd only knows
Gender: Male


Posted: Jul 28, 2016 - 11:36pm

 kurtster wrote:

Indeed.

One thing no one has brought up is when TV network news crossed the line from hard news only and allowed entertainment into the mix.  There was a time when the people in hard news where forever banned if they stepped into any entertainment format.  The Today Show here in the states is where the line first began to blur.  Someone (D ?) mentioned earlier when the network news went from 15 minutes to a whole half an hour.  I do remember that.  There were only Cronkite (CBS), Huntley and Brinkley (NBC) and in 1965 ABC finally launched its own evening news with Peter Jennings of which I remember watching the first telecast.  Opinions were not allowed and editorials were rare and very carefully presented when they were, but mainly at local station level on local issues.  Surprised no one else brought this up because I'm not the only one here my age who should remember this turning point and think of it as significant.  I was going to say that I remember when The Today Show was brand new, but it turns out that they didn't start showing it in California until 1958.  It was new to us out West then anyway. (Mountain and Pacific time zones did not get it at all until 1958)  

No one knew Cronkite was a bleeding heart lib.  He played it straight, all the way through.  We didn't find anything out about Brinkley until he showed up on his Sunday show which did get political and dealt with opinion. 

Now its almost impossible to tell where news ends and entertainment begins.  Once the News Departments were immune from ratings issues and revenue problems.  That allowed them to play straight.  Now they are treated the same as any other show.  I think the end came in the mid to late 70's, but its been so long ago, I really don't remember.  Those born after 1970 have never seen straight news programs or knew they existed and have nothing to compare with in their real time memories and its hard now to believe it ever existed in the first place, but it did.

Just a thought I figured I'd throw on the pile ... 
 
It's even worse than you think. Turn on a newscast. Any one. It won't matter. Mute the station to reduce "information" overload. (Yeah, I just did that! Even in a boring politics-related forum, I'm still a smart@ss!) OK, now watch the camera angle changes. Watch for swapping out the graphics. You're looking for significant movement, for changes. Ignore the banner on the bottom. I don't even need it to make my case. If you start counting or time from the start of a graphic to a change or movement, you will not hit 20 seconds. Ever. Producers are taught to do that, because, in this era, most people don't have the attention span to focus. TV viewers are multitasking...tv/phone/laptop/eating/etc. News organizations know that they can't compete with all our other toys and preoccupations if they give the public straight newscasts. That day has come and gone. So we get treated to the Max X equivalent of "news", which now supplements "reports" on all the latest gossip from the Jay Z and Taylor Swift feud. Oh, and Jay Z supports Hillary. You should, too, if you want to be hip and/or feel that link between you and someone famous. All that editing 
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