(KPLR) – In Monday's Jacology, Charles Jaco looks at media bias.
Is the media biased? Or more precisely, are the individual people involved in it biased? Some places like FOX News or MSNBC make no secret of their bias. And that's a little tricky working for an organization part of whose identity is their bias. But what of we mere worker bees? Take me. I've had several adventures as a talk radio host, where I was told to express by opinions forcefully, and I did. Those opinions are considered left-of-center. But I just call them sensible. Anyway, management here at FOX2 and KPLR 11 had no problem, since my radio opinion shows and my television reporting are two separate things.
Anyway, this something the good folks at the University of Missouri-St. Louis will explore in a panel featuring me, and others at UMSL called media biases. It's a conference sponsored by the good people at the Center for Ethics and Public Life at UMSL. My position is simple. I don’t care what anyone's biases are, as long as they’re a good reporter and get the facts right. And in some cases, a journalist's biases and opinions based in a strong sense of right and wrong, serve the public good.
In the 1950's CBS's Edward R. Murrow took on the witch hunt anti-communist demagoguery of Senator Joe McCarthy, both in news stories and in commentaries. It was the fight thing to do. In 1968 Walter Cronkite faced the camera, and said plainly that the united states should get out of Vietnam. Again, it was the right thing to do. In the early 1990's CNN's Chsistiane Amanpour went on the air and shamed the United States for not intervening to prevent mass murder and genocide in Bosnia. Definitely the right thing to do.
There are a lot of people who say journalists shouldn’t have known opinions. Which would be the same as asking journalists not to vote, because who they vote for indicates a bias. I think we can all have whatever opinions we wish, as long as our reporting is fair, and lays out the facts.
That's pretty much all you can ask of anybody, in any line of work.
I'm Charles Jaco, and that's Jacology.