Networks

Okay… duke it out over networks.

This thread is a bit unusual for me, but I think it can be done.

Rules:

If you are nasty, I won’t only delete your comment, I will permanently block your access to this blog.

If you attack people personally, I won’t only delete your comment, I will permanently block your access to this blog.

If you are profoundly obtuse….

I think most of you know me by now.

This can also apply to networks overseas, such as SKY or BBC, RAI or… fill in the blank.

Is there media bias? 

Examples… be concrete.

Okay or not?

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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33 Responses to Networks

  1. Brian Day says:

    I don’t watch enough network TV to comment definitively. Are you talking about news/political bias, or entertainment?

    On the entertainment side, I think that all of them are pro-homosexual, pro-abortion, pro-forni…well you get the picture. And I think that Fox entertainment is the worst of them. (Disclaimer: I’m addicted to House, MD though.)

    On the news side, Fox News is the best of a bad lot. Their straight news coverage is OK, but the commentary is only slightly better than CNN, MSNBC, et al. I don’t watch the BBC or other non-American networks.

  2. Geoffrey says:

    I don’t think it’s a network thing as much as it is an individual journalist thing. I only watch MSNBC, mainly because of Pat Buchanan (which I am watching as I write this). I can tell the good journalists from the biased ones. For example, David Gregory asks hard questions of those on both the left and the right, whereas Keith Oberman constantly chimes in with annoying left-wing comments, correcting right-wing speeches, etc., instead of moderating the event in unbiased silence.

  3. Paul says:

    There are a few decent commentators out there, David Gregory (MSNBC), David Gergen (CNN) as well as John King with his election map. Pat Buchanan is easily the most insightful and also funny! I do not mind bias as long as the networks are upfront about it – for example on Fox you know what you are going to get with Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly up to a point yet it is very annoying to listen to so called impartial anchors such as Olberman and Matthews that allow their own political positions to be evident.

    As a Brit currently living in America, I must say that the coverage is very different, although one can detect a liberal bias at the BBC, you would never get commentators being as blazen in their views as one gets over here.

    Favourite program – Morning Joe on MSNBC!

  4. Brian says:

    The most destructive bias in the news media today is the bias in favor of revenue and against quality news. [Interesting starting point.] The news used to be a sort of public service that lost money for the networks. [But was it without bias?] IMO, every industry starts on the road to ruin the minute they consider their primary product to be revenue/profit as opposed to profit being a means to excellence, moral and technical.
    When Rupert Murdoch bought the Wall Street Journal, he told the staff there that he’s committed to making the WSJ “number one”. Knowing Murdoch, an investor in many areas, he’s clearly talking about making the paper number one in sales. Yes, someone has to be number one, but usually lowest common denominator products are the ones on top in terms of revenue.
    Think about the number one newspaper in circulation, USA Today. Don’t read it, it;ll make you dumber!
    This is the reason why all the networks have so many talking heads, instead of on-site reporting. I remember back in the day when CNN reporters would file their stories without showing their face on camera. The pieces would end with “John Smith, CNN, Moscow” or something like that. Whatever CNN’s (ted turner’s) biases, that was a whole lot better than having a revolving cast of commentators.
    The notion that the internet has killed print media news and TV news isn’t nearly as true as people affirm it to be. [What about alternative media?] It’s the quality of the news that’s dipped due to what I described above, putting money before excellence. Don’t tag me as some anti-profit leftist, I’m only saying that there is a dignity to work, which is above and beyond profit margin. Journalism should be considered dignified work, not a means to the greatest profit. Investment bankers should see their work as helping people achieve that excellence, not simply making a killing, IMO.

  5. Adam says:

    Frankly, the only time that I hear people complain about bias is when the bias is one with which they disagree. [Really?]Put differently – does anybody complain when somebody is biased in their favor? Something along the lines of – “I’m not watching this, anymore. This guy agrees with me TOO much!” I don’t think so.

  6. Carter says:

    Yes, of course there is bias and there are some good, objective studies to demonstrate it. (see link below) Forget the self-reporting surveys which are methodologically flawed and anecdotal evidence, which doesn’t pass scientific muster. One of the most objective and controlled studies was done by UCLA’s political science department, which received no outside funding for the project. Their study correlates citations of conservative and liberal think tanks by media outlets with the citations of the same in lawmakers’ speeches to produce a quantifiable measure for bias. The study also has several internal controls to eliminate its own bias. The results? 18 of 20 major media outlets were measured as left of center. But the study will surpise you. NPR doesn’t come across as ultra-lefty as most people assume, and Brit Hume’s show is more centrist than the liberals assume. Check out the results and methodology for yourself (you’ll have to paste the link in your browser…I can’t hyperlink it, sorry.)

    http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/Media-Bias-Is-Real-Finds-UCLA-6664.aspx?RelNum=6664

  7. An Ardent Catholic says:

    Father Z – regarding Italian Networks (Rai 1,2,3 vs Mediaset) etc, there is bias. But it’s not really pertinent here as they are biased on North/South issues which are irrelevant to the topic at hand.

    Living in the UK, I did notice that the Beeb was mostly dominated culturally by Mohammedan Indians/Pakistanis. This means they are very vocal when it comes to social issues that affect them (i.e. perceived prejudice/biggotry from the citizenry) but also very anti-American in their reporting in general. They aren’t even apologetic about it; a recent episode of a drama called “Bonekickers” (see: CSI) had a “christian” fundamentalist behead a Mohammedan. In contrast, Channel 4 is far more conservative and came out with several exposes and dramas having to do with terrorism as well as the Dispatches “Undercover Mosque”, in which reporters secretly filmed and recorded the Imams (a’imma) of the mosques in their native habitats as it were, thinking they were not among “mixed” company. What they said was essentially what everyone KNOWS they say when they think no media is around.

    Anyway, I think it is a given that there is media bias. The media are organisations which are vested with their own self-preservation. Reporters want to keep their jobs, and they also want to keep getting invited to the white house, embassy, press conferences etc. So, they all tailor their reporting accordingly.

  8. berenike says:

    SPUC report Bias and the BBC

    Robin Aitken Can We Trust the BBC?

    BBC series Spooks, episode 1 – dangerous pro-life terrorists with a mass bombing plan.

    Oh yes, and they don’t at all favour Obama, no, not at all!

    Just some exx.

  9. Jason says:

    Father Z,

    Yes, there is substantiated bias in the news media. I was a Communications Major in college and was trained to do journalistic writing. Based on this experience, I have noticed a bias in the media for quite some time.

    One survey I read (which unfortunately I was unable to Google-find) stated that an overwhelming majority of the news media are registered Democrats. Although this fact in and of itself isn’t grounds for bias, it does color the way they present the news. The same survey also indicated that they also supported abortion “rights”, are pro-homosexual “marriage” and are less likely to be a “committed” religious believer.

    To be a little more concrete with my observations, I did find some supporting information from the Media Research Center, whose mission is to bring balance to the news media. Some findings:
    * 81 percent of the journalists interviewed voted for the Democratic presidential candidate in every election between 1964 and 1976.

    * In the Democratic landslide of 1964, 94 percent of the press surveyed voted for President Lyndon Johnson (D) over Senator Barry Goldwater (R).

    * In 1968, 86 percent of the press surveyed voted for Democrat Senator Hubert Humphrey.

    * In 1972, when 62 percent of the electorate chose President Richard Nixon, 81 percent of the media elite voted for liberal Democratic Senator George McGovern.

    * In 1976, the Democratic nominee, Jimmy Carter, captured the allegiance of 81 percent of the reporters surveyed while a mere 19 percent cast their ballots for President Gerald Ford.

    * Over the 16-year period, the Republican candidate always received less than 20 percent of the media elite’s vote.

    * Lichter and Rothman’s survey of journalists discovered that “Fifty-four percent placed themselves to the left of center, compared to only 19 percent who chose the right side of the spectrum.”

    * “Fifty-six percent said the people they worked with were mostly on the left, and only 8 percent on the right — a margin of seven-to-one.”

    You can read more of the results here: http://www.mediaresearch.org/biasbasics/biasbasics3.asp

    I also just want to make one final comment regarding conservative talk radio. Obviously there is a bias here as well, but it’s been so successful because the rest of the news media has a liberal or ultra-liberal bent. In fact, conservative radio has been the bane of many liberals in Congress who have tried to support a liberal talk radio alternative. Many have tried to start “liberal” talk radio and have failed because there is already a glut of those in the marketplace.

    Anyway, just one man’s opinion.

  10. Jason says:

    Father Z,

    Just thought of another thing:

    With regards to most news, the journalists wording can also be over-ridden by the editor.

    For example, a friend of mine wrote an article for a newspaper on the abortion issue. Everywhere she wrote the words “pro-life” the editor changed (without telling her mind you) to “anti-abortion”. The editor also made some other “corrections” that really changed the slant of the story.

    Sounds like what some did with our translations for the Mass in the 1970s, no?

  11. I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!

  12. bryan says:

    I have a unique opinion and insight into this, having spent 9 years in the newsroom as a studio engineer at ABC News in NYC.

    1. Most of the people I had the privilege of working with were intelligent, basically good people who came out of the crucible (gotta remember, this was back in the middle 1970s, ok?) of the 1960s societal churn. There were a few old-timers such as Bob Walker (who was the newscaster in the famous Abraham Zapruder interview on WFAA the night of JFK’s murder), Bill Owen (former host of “Discovery” in the 1960s), John Cameron (son of John Cameron Swayze) and other of their stature still around, but, in the inexorable grinding machine that network news really is, like everything else, there were many of various talents who populated the belly of the beast.

    2. The writing and editing staffs, however, were young folks (like me at the time) with a decidedly different take on the world. They came out of the major NY journalism schools such as Columbia, NYU, Fordham (home of Fr. Ray Schroth SJ, who was my journalism prof…), fresh with the example of Woodward and Bernstein as their heroes; ready, eager, and driven to make their mark. Idealism at its best and worst, since it was not tempered with experience or insight into the effects any decision would bring. And they had a big stage on which to hone their skills with little (outside of the dictates of the oxymoronic ‘journalistic ethics’)real-life experience to guide them. Me included.

    Those young’uns then are now the senior editors, news directors, senior producers, you name it, that are fashioning the stories we read/hear/see today.

    3. All that being said, and this is not a slam or a value judgment, but the majority of the editors were not professed Christian in background. Mostly our elder brothers in faith, or agnostic at best. And they lived their lives as secular humanists. I witnessed it. Impressed with their own skills and grasp (as they saw it) of the world, they apparently believed that it was only through the lens of the provable (ie if you see it, it’s real) that truth could be explained. They were confounded by Reagan. While they respected JPII, they couldn’t explain why people were drawn to him (pm me for stories from my side of the crowds in the press pool for his first trip here to the states and Poland in 1983…) as the leader (as one correspondent put it, off mic, of course) of a ‘sect’.

    4. Tied into this, as explained by Bernard Goldberg in his expose’ of CBS news, the business is a very clannish existence. Most of your daily acquaintances are fellow journalists, editors, producers, etc. You visit each others’ houses, swap vacation time-shares amongst yourselves, end up at the same press conferences, travel on the same planes, cover the same stories, witness history being made sometimes. Yes, even as a lowly studio engineer, I got to sample the life. I participated in political conventions, the hostage release in 81, the al smith dinner, president Reagan’s first campaign, John Anderson’s campaign, and trip all around the world. Been there, did that, still talk with some people who you all hear or see on the tube though I am out of the industry for over 20 years. But, in the end, this clannishness brings with it a mental alignment with the herd. Since these folks are your friends and colleagues…and they are nice folk to be around…considerate, intelligent, helpful…hey, who wants to be seen as the nail sticking up out of the board, right? So, you go along, slowly conforming your view to the herd so as not to find yourself on the wrong side of the majority. It’s death by a thousand nicks, not a fast stake through the temple.

    5. And, while the management did its best to draw its on-air talent from the kind of tapioca-textured ‘middle America’, the background collection, editing, production, and management was decidedly New York-centric. Everything got filtered through the northeast elitist mindset.

    So, long way around to the point: yes, the media is biased (I worked with, for many years, the current VP of news for Fox News. At our last reunion, while treated with respect (hey, one never knows when one needs a job, especially when a newscaster is only on a 13-week contract at best), he was not exactly the most popular man in the restaurant because of the organization he helped build, which is viewed by the establishment as a right-wing shill, which for the types of folks who control the ‘backroom’ of the major news operations, is anathema to their worldly, ‘enlightened’, and elitist closed-room existence.

    There are a whole lot of reasons why they are so biased, and, for the most part, I can ascribe no evil intent, but, viewed through the lens of Catholic reality, like Stalin’s ‘Useful Idiots’, they most certainly, in my mind, while perhaps not overtly advancing the cause of evil (since they would not be able to specifically describe the theological basis for it, rather it would be described in a secular humanist manner), by their acquiescence to the solely humanist path, deny both the reality of God and natural law, which puts them squarely on the side of what has come to be known as the liberal interpretation of social policy.

    Don’t know if this makes any sense, but, it’s based on my observations over those years I spent in the business.

    I’m not saying this with rancor…I learned to live with it for a long time, but, when I found my own core beliefs being threatened, I left for other pastures.

  13. AltBanater says:

    The mainstream media, i.e., networks, print, etc., are the modern day
    opiate of the masses that function to insure the same crop of power elite
    continue to foist one of two slightly differently flavors of atheistic
    totalitarianisms upon the rest of us. The constant stream of similar
    messages coming from purportedly different points of view keep people
    from thinking clearly about the impact of government aggrandizement in
    their lives and so we get more government expansion which continues to
    implement more and more evil programs both domestic and abroad via its
    compulsory monopoly of confiscation. All the mainstream network and print
    media play into this corrupt status quo even if they are actively
    conspiring to maintain it. They just all think alike and enjoy the status
    they have to shape how people think because they are in the position
    to trumpet their point of view, ad nauseum.

  14. AltBanater says:

    In my above post I meant to write:
    “… even if they are not actively conspiring to maintain it.”

    and I thought bryan’s comment were very interesting and insightful.

  15. Xpihs says:

    I often listen to NPR and, alternatively, to News Talk Radio. Both have a clear bias in so far as they report or discuss from a particular world view that holds certain premises to be true a priori. If having certain premises a priori, is what it is to have a bias, each network’s take is prejudiced accordingly. There isn’t any real reporting of facts apart from the interpretation of those facts (spin) and the reporting is definitely with an agenda. I don’t really have a problem with a network having a bias unless the network (and by extention the reporters) claim not to have one. Being “balanced” is a rather obtuse way of saying “I’ll also bring up the objections to my thesis.” If you already have a thesis, then balancing it with objections and letting people decide who to believe isn’t what it means to not have a bias.

    With this in mind, in listening to NPR discuss Sarah Palin, they reported what various people said about her, both for and against, which might seem to indicate that they don’t have a bias. However, without hearing everyone they interviewed and comparing that to what they actually aired, one could not be certain. Next though, their story was about the speech she gave at the convention, however the whole point of the story was evident: to discount factually certain points. Nothing else of her speech was discussed.

  16. Jeff Reese says:

    First, thanks to Fr. Z for starting this post. I think it’s a fascinating topic, and one that should be discussed critically. In that spirit, I hope my comments to follow don’t get immediately disregarded simply because they sound “odd.”

    First, a practical consideration that works as set-up to my main point: Unbiased media, whether it be television networks, radio, internet, podcasts, or any form of communication, is a myth. Bias has been demonized, particularly since the Enlightenment, as somehow a “distortion” of the truth. But this need not, and I think cannot, be a proper understanding of what bias is. Properly understood, “bias” is just another word for tradition, or perhaps more precisely, for hermeneutical viewpoint. There is a great deal to the Gadamerian point that no one can escape their context (tradition), and that context (tradition) will always influence the way one interprets the world. Of course, this context-for-interpretation is never going to be static – all traditions are living traditions and a “dead” context-for-interpretation is no context at all. In lay parlance, we all come from somewhere, where we come from influences who we are, and who we are influences how we go about understanding the world around us. No one can escape this, and that means that the “unbiased network” is a myth.

    But doesn’t that leave us with relativity? Subjectivity?

    No, it doesn’t. It leaves us with a distinction to make. Namely, the distinction between reflective and unreflective bias. Reflective bias is a bias that one is aware of having, has considered, and has embraced. Take, for example, the individual who has frequented this blog, believes in the Truths of the Faith and the importance of Catholic Identity, and has actively embraced that identity in such a way that he brings it with him into any conversation, be it political, theological, philosophical, artistic, etc. This is a reflective bias. Unreflective bias is the kind of bias that one has without being aware of having it. It influences the way one interprets and understands the world, but without the person have any idea that it is doing so.

    The critical point here is that reflective bias is a REASONED PERSPECTIVE while unreflective bias is not. It is precisely the reasoned perspective of reflective bias that allows the different communities and traditions within a pluralistic society able to contribute meaningfully to that society. When Catholics, or any other group, are consciously acting from the standpoint of their tradition, and others are doing the same, this is the framework in which honest dialogue can happen.

    So what does all this have to do with networks?

    My “odd” idea here is that I would much rather have a media of the sort that existed in the days of the Federalist/Anti-Federalist than the warring stations and networks of today. In the past, the emphasis was on what kind of publication (or network) it was. The bias was worn on the sleeve – often it was the TITLE of the publication! – it was an open bias, and therefore a reflective bias. Today, most networks make impossible claims of objectivity and we are left to try to sort out which biases individual reporters have (Oh, well he is more conservative, but the lady who comes on right after her is more liberal…). Ultimately, this is a task that most people don’t have time for, and so the “objective networks” end up giving the news that is the most thickly veiled.

    So, to answer your question:

    Is there media bias? Yes

    Is this OK? Yes. In fact, it is good, but only when it is a reflective bias, unafraid to make itself known. We would be in a much better place if there were an openly “Republican” news station and openly “Democrat” news station, in the same way that once can find a “Catholic” news station when they turn on EWTN. Reflective bias leads to a greater deal of honesty and facilitates public debate and discussion to a far greater degree than vain attempts to capture “objectivity.”

  17. Woody Jones says:

    What I want to know is why is Fox Sports World so biased against the Bundesliga that they don’t carry the German soccer games any more? We Bayern Munich fans (and I am glad to associate myself with the Holy Father in this matter as well as all others) need our fix.

  18. JohnE says:

    CBS was showing highlights last night from Palin’s speech. There was one point in her speech where she said, “But here’s a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion – I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this country.” CBS interrupted just before this line with 4-5 brief clips of movies (Erin Brochovic, Dolly Parton in the 9-5 movie, and a few other clips) before coming back to the speech and this line. http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4417773n

    Overall I think the intent was for it to be a complimentary piece — that Sarah Palin should be taken seriously. I couldn’t help but wonder if there was some subtle attempt to plant some doubts at the time. It must’ve taken some effort to pull out 4-5 clips from these various movies before this line. Was it to somehow equate Palin as insincere or downplay her as some sort of actress just playing a tired role of smalltown girl taking on the Establishment? Just a political ploy from the “Republican arsenal”?

  19. Marty says:

    Here’s a list of those interviewed on MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann since January 2008, from http://www.olbermannwatch.com/archives/2006/05/the_list.php:

    # January 4 (2008): John Edwards (D)
    # January 10: Bill Richardson (D)
    # January 11: Rush Holt (D)
    # January 23: John Edwards (D)
    # February 25: Dee Dee Myers (D)
    # March 14: Barack Obama (D)
    # March 21: Bill Richardson (D)
    # March 31: Chuck Hagel (R) [speaking against Bush policies]
    # April 9: Elizabeth Edwards (D)
    # April 21: Hillary Clinton (D)
    # April 25: James Clyburn (D)
    # April 30: Chris Kofinis (D)
    # May 1: Joe Andrew (D)
    # May 9: Harry Reid (D)
    # May 9: James Webb (D)
    # May 28: Scott McClellan (R) [speaking against Bush policies]
    # June 6: Chris Kofinis (D)
    # June 9: Scott McClellan (R) [speaking against Bush policies]
    # June 11: John Kerry (D)
    # June 20: Chris Kofinis (D)
    # June 23: Markos Moulitsas (D)
    # June 25: Robert Wexler (D)
    # June 30: Jim Webb (D)
    # July 1: Chris Kofinis (D)
    # July 17: Chris Kofinis (D)
    # July 21: Chris Kofinis (D)
    # July 22: Chris Kofinis (D)
    # July 25: Bob Barr (L)
    # July 31: Chris Kofinis (D)
    # August 8: Chris Kofinis (D)
    # August 12: Chris Kofinis (D)
    # August 20: Chris Kofinis (D)

    I use to really enjoy Keith on ESPN, but he’s simply not balanced in any way on his network show which keeps any reasoned and logical person from considering his views on anything political.

  20. JohnE says:

    Another network is the Discovery/History channel with what I see as an anti-religion and anti-Catholic bias. I have noticed that especially around Christmas and Easter, programs are aired that are derogatory of Christianity and entertain conspiracy theories that nearly all historians debunk as nonsense. (Hmmm, could Jesus really have married Mary Magdalene and moved to France? Maybe so after all. I guess we’ll never know for sure.) Discovery/History Channel makes it seem like these conspiracy theories have more credence in the community of historians and researchers than they really do. Then the other night I saw the tail end of a program on some people from Peru. The conclusion from stern expression of the host as he walked off camera was that the Catholic Church came in and killed the culture of these people. Whether or not some Catholics actually did an injustice I have no idea. There was no interview with any Catholic historian that might give a more balanced perspective, and based on other programs that are aired, I definitely can’t take the Discovery host at his word.

  21. Gerard E. says:

    Bryan’s experiences reflect mine during six years in local television news. U.S. newsrooms are hothouses full of people indoctrinated in their own seminaries- the major j departments such as Syracuse, Temple, etc. Either their inhabitants transcended poor or working class backgrounds and ethics or never had them in the first place. Thus the wailing and gnashing of teeth regarding all things Sarah Palin. I too have gone on to other, if not greener, pastures. Since that time, I have detoxed myself- very little teevee watching is done that does not include the letters E, S, P, or N. I am happily and blessedly an internet addict. Combine all this with the local all-news station- often with a flagrant liberal bias- and El Rushbo, and I am happily and blessedly informed. I broke my teevee fast to see Ms. Palin’s speech at the GOP convention. On Fox News. So that I would not subject myself to needless wailing and gnashing of teeth.

  22. Deusdonat says:

    JohnE – EESH! You really hit a sore spot with me. I used to watch the History/Discovery channel often, but I too noticed this trend. Any segment about Jesus is invariably a) polemical b) unsubstantiated c) uses the most obscure commentators as trusted theologians and d) pays very little attention to the facts and evidence surrounding accepted theology.

    The worst show on the air is the “Naked Archeologist”. This is SO laughible! The “archeologist” has no credentials in archeology other than that he is an Orthodox Jew who believes all events happened in the Torah as stated (this is also the Schmuck who teamed up with James Cameron on that “Tomb of Jesus” special, which turned out to be a Titanic fiasco). I really hat this show as the presenter distorts and just right out lies about “clues” to fit his perceived notions. I remember one episode, he deliberately mistranslated a latin inscription in Rome “institutiones iuris” (legal institutions) saying it says “Jewish Institutions” (which of course would have been “institutiones iudeis”) in order to “prove” Jews designed certain structures in ancient Rome. And of course the church gives him absolutely NO credibility and refuses to even talk to him- and he really plays into this. On several episodes, he states how he has arranged a meeting with some church official, then shows up with the camera crew for the “interview” and is politely told that the official is unavailable. This guy then usually badgers whoever is answering, saying “but I have an appointment” etc for a few minutes, then cloyingly looks into the camera and shrugs as if everything he says has been vindicated since there is obviously a big church conspiracy/cover-up going on and they are unwilling to talk to him.

    It really is disgusting what they will put on television under the guise of education.

  23. Dan says:

    We do not own a television and we will never own a “Hell box” as our pastor calls it, ever again.
    We have become immeasurably more virtuous, and wise, without it.
    God bless you.

  24. Tom Seeker says:

    I am sorry to be so simple minded but they do call journalism a liberal art. There is a reason for that.

  25. JohnE says:

    Deusdonat, I believe it was the same “archeologist” that was doing the show I saw on Peru. Seems that someone has an agenda.

  26. Deusdonat says:

    John – well, I didn’t want to name him or link to him to give him any sort of credibility. But I think we know who we’re talking about here.

    And agenda you say? Who knew…?

  27. Robert Wardle says:

    One thing to keep in mind with all the networks, particularly the 24 ones, is that there are supposed to be journalists and commentators. Hannity, Colmes, O’Reilly, Limbaugh, etc., as wellas many guests are supposed to be commentators. As such, if they show a bias to one side or the other it is to be expected. However, if one is acting as an journalist, reporter or anchor of the “news”; then one be as objectine as is humanly possible. Just my humble opinion. One example that seemed to cross the line was on MSNBC a week ago. The BREAKING NEWS alert announcing the selection of Sarah Palin as VP running mate was accompanied by the caption: “How many houses does she own.”

  28. Robert Wardle says:

    One thing to keep in mind is that there should be a difference between journalists and commentators. Hannity, Colmes, O’Reilly, etc., are commentators and proclaim themselves as such. Thus it can be expected they will show bias. However, those who claim the mantle of news anchor, reporter, journalist should remain as objective as humanly possible. One of the most aggregious crossing of that line was on the day of the announcement of Sarah Palin as McCain running mate. MSNBC, under the banner of BREAKING NEWS, had the caption, “How many houses does she own?”

  29. Fr. Marie-Paul says:

    I will take a different tack on this. The networks, controlled by an oligarchy, have become the tools of satan. Looking at the trash that’s on TV, it would be unthinkable comparing only 50 years ago to what what we now have. Just think how the parents of 50+ years ago could better control what morality goes into their kids heads. In past ages, spreading sin was a lot harder since there wasn’t instant access to everyone’s brains in order to promote lies and excite that concupiscence. Now TV, radio, Ipods have almost constant input. Ever notice the lack of quiet? Many gas stations now have TV screens while pumping gas, so getting in a few Hail Mary’s is not even possible at the gas pump in those locations. Look how immorality and lies are spread across the earth in seconds.

    In fact, Our Lady of Good Success in the 1600′s “the passions will erupt and there will be a total corruption of customs, for Satan will reign almost completely by means of the Masonic sects. They will focus particularly on the children in order to achieve this general corruption. Woe to the children of these times.”

    Nothing but promotion and aggrandizing of sin. Specifics? Look at all the programs. Games shows: avarice. Reality shows: gossip, anti-charity. Soap operas: lust lust lust. Of course lust is in everything now. Comedies: more lust, adultery, anti-charity. Notice how much “comedy” is really very anti-charitable or vulgar? Talk shows: gossip, tear down morality. All shows: taking God’s Name in vain. Cartoons / kids shows: magic, occult make pretty. Need I go on?

    Are they biased? Yeah, biased towards sin in all its forms. Anyone see the homosexual commercials lately, where two males get into kissing and such? Yuck.

    News? Opinions, yes, but news, not really. The same oligarchy controls the editorial spin to promote sin and silence the opposition (read: conservatives). I have seen various counts of how many democrat versus republican stories, and it is always leftist. Things are painted leftist, like the homosexual (gay agenda) situation. I would recommend the “Marketing of Evil” for a short history of how the homosexuals used media to accomplish their brainwashing. There are a few exceptions, like Glenn Beck.

    So, why expose yourself to this brainwashing? Constant repetition is part of that process. Communists do the same by controlling the media – garbage in, garbage out as they say in computer programming.

    Turn off them networks. Fewer eyeballs hurts advertising revenue, and they listen to that. Use the internet instead, the alternative media, for focused sources that you can trust. Like here, right?

  30. JohnE says:

    Robert, I think \”journalist/commentator\” is an important distinction to make. I think you can also judge a newspaper or station by the number of left-leaning vs. right-leaning commentaries.

  31. DocJim says:

    I no longer worry about the networks. My wife and I took the antenna off the TV set about 3-4 years ago.

    We don’t subsist in a news vacuum. We hear a bit of news on the car radio and listen to some other radio news, but most of our information comes off the web now. There are trusted web news hounds and commentators.
    We also get a bit of Fox News Channel on XM Radio when things are “happening” in the USA. For example, we listened a great deal when Gustav hit land.

    I suspect the TV networks will go the way of newspapers, though reading takes more mental effort and people will drop the newspapers first.

  32. Doug says:

    Oddly enough NPR has only been mentioned a couple of times in this conversation. I expected more given the usual take on public tv/radio as a staunch bastion of liberalism. That having been said, perhaps a secretly held view of mine is being proven out here.

    I am an unabashed conservative. Socially conservative. Economically conservative. Etc. Go figure. I’m Catholic. (I bet that ruffles a feather or two.) On the surface I am the anti-NPR and yet I’ve listened daily to ATC since I was six years old and ME since its inception and I’ve come to believe that NPR isn’t quite as lefty as most people think. True, it does lean left; but, not nearly as much as most people think. In fact I’d venture to say that its left leaning tendencies are mostly evidenced by a few particular personalities (Daniel Schorr for one) and not the organization as a whole. Most, I think, they do a far better job of being objective in their reporting than, say, CNN or MSNBC.

    I suppose I could be infected, by virtue of my long tenure with NPR, and thus less able to judge their leanings objectively. and yet I remain after years of “infection” a committed conservative. Go figure.

    Anyhoo, a person or two in this thread has noted that he and/or she has stopped (or nearly done) getting their news from traditional radio/tv sources and, instead, has chosen to rely on internet sources…blog, network, otherwise.

    I am curious as to what the breakdown is on media sources. I’m a web developer…go figure :-) Who of you consider your main news source to be tv, radio, news paper, internet, tabloids or word of mouth?

  33. Aaron says:

    I agree with Doug. NPR might lean a little bit liberal, but at least they allow debate. Their opinion shows almost always feature two people who accurately represent both sides of the issue and are allowed to speak back and forth in turn without interruptions. It’s amazingly refreshing compared to cable news shows where two people essentially yell over each other for the entire segment.

    The network I’ve been disappointed in is Comedy Central. Stephen Colbert broke character a number of times this week. Rather than play the gung-ho conservative commentator (with just enough wit to let you know he’s playing a role), he just flat out stated his negative opinions about McCain and Palin. I don’t mind that Colbert disagrees with the Republicans, but he’s not being true to his show.