Is the media biased?

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(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.

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Email: charles.jaco@tvstl.com

3 comments

  • sulli159

    More everyday, I rarely use any mainstream media source to get any reliable and “complete” information. Expecially with national and international news. if it wasn’t for altnerative blogs on the net, publications, and books, we would never know the truth about what is going on. Fox news is just about the only one we can watch without holding our noses. Even you, Mr Jacob, made highly derogotory remarks about the Tea Party a few years back. When what we were trying to do was expose tax fraud, corruption and cronyism in our government. Just as Senator McCarthy (RIP) was absolutley correct about communism in the hightest offices of the US government and maybe even underestimated the numbers, I find it rather questionable (suspiciously), that you or any other reputable reporter would have a problem with that. Most mainstream reporters are told what to say from the higher ups and probably, with a few exceptions, get their scripts and marching orders from the obama admininstration. Even our Founding Fathers did not have fond words to say about the media. They tend to manipulate the news, withhold information the public needs to know and in some cases just outright lies and conjectures.

  • sulli159

    I did not see the report you reference on the Bosnia war, but the Bosnia War was another case of the MSM cooking the books. And all tried to cover up the Islamic atrocities ocurred in that area. Just as it is Islamic ideology of global domination and an attempt to exterminate “Christian” nations and here the Serbian Christians. Pre WWI the Young Turks (Muslims) systematically tried to exterminated the whole Armenian population in what is now famously known by the “Armenian Genocide”. In WWII Bosnia Nazi soldiers had their own death camps where they murdered over 10 thousands Jews and others that opposed the Third Reich.

    Known fact that I F Stone at one point in his career was on the FBI files as a card carrying member of the Communist Party USA. When Edward R Murrow visited Russia. Did he not know or say anything about Stalin’s Gulags where 7-11 million died; about 5 million of them children?

    Yes you and all media are entitlled to your own opinion, Just not entitled to your own facts. Report the truth…..

  • oscar

    I learned long ago that the media holds a bias. CBS and the “Guns of Autumn”. A true hatchet job on hunters. Have taken everything the media spits out with a large dose of salt ever since.

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