Saturday, March 29, 2003

Unreasonable Assumptions

Assuming that the level of bias in the political contributions of the major news networks is an indication of the potential for bias in their media coverage is endemic to the students here at NMH, likely in the guy huddled against the traffic on the Brattleboro streetcorner waving his protest sign, common in punditry from both sides of the political spectrum. But that assumption is suspect, and therefore, The Polemic's Guide to Media Bias Part 1: Political Contributions doesn't make a strong enough case for a causal link between corporate donations and media bias.

Do you really think that donations from corporate entities is a realistic reflection of how the news agencies of those corporate agencies bias or flavor their coverage? To assume so would mean assuming that the corporate parents -- the veryrich folks who OWN the companies -- have a direct line to, or direct policies for, those middle-class wage-earners on the front lines of news coverage. This is much like -- not even as strong as -- assuming that when I speak politically at the school where I work, I am doing so in a manner consistent with the politics of the school's Board of Trustees: it MAY be true, but it probably isn't; if it is, it's not because I work here, or because they told me to do so. I've never met most of them. I have no idea what they believe, or who they donate money to.

I think an analysis of actual NEWS -- including what's covered and how, what's not covered well or at all, which stories get the most time, what value words the newscasters use and how -- is really going to be the only way to truly see news bias one way or another. But note that the dollar amounts for Fox news executives' donations to the GOP are required, by law, to be freely available to us. I suggest that one reason that pundits prefer to throw numbers at us is that it's a heck of a lot less work.

posted by boyhowdy | 1:24 AM |

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