This is a deadhorse, so I won’t beat it for too long. Here is quick article that discusses Bernard Goldberg’s book Bias, the initial reaction to the book, the later confessions of some in the media, and the effects of the Blogosphere on the media. Considering the recent developments in the larger media world such as Gore taking the first steps towards a television network, Air America, and the new, liberal version of the MRC, Media Matters, bias is something that should be considered. The last thing this country needs is the development of highly polarized mainstream news outlets. We’re already polarized enough, and if our news sources become polarized then political discussions will either become pointless arguments about sources (“Where did you hear that? Fox News? Haha!” or “Did Franken tell you that? Sucker.”) or laborious excercises of mining primary sources for unspun data (seriously, who wants to watch C-SPAN all the time?). We’re still a long ways from that, but it’s my paranoia.
The discussion of blogs towards the end of the article makes some good points. First, blogs are quick reacting. It’s not too uncommon at all for me to read about an event in the blogosphere before it hits the mainstream press. Sometimes the lag is so bad, I have the “that’s-old-news” reaction. Also, it’s annoying to be constantly reading about yesterday’s news in newspapers. However, most of the time blogs are dependent on media outlets for information, so the race is only to see who can organize and present the news item faster. Blogs are usually faster. Second, the capability to capture and preserve what are usually ephemeral, quickly-forgotten statements gives bloggers the power to easily hold politicians accountable. This ability, combined with powerful internet searches and increased electronic documentation, can make any Joe Blogger a fact-checking tour de force. So, not only are there bigger media/political watchdogs, but there are literally thousands of littler guys who are just gunning to to take down the bigger guys. Third, blogs can tackle issues with much more depth and comprehensiveness than pretty much any other medium besides books. You aren’t going to get a real thorough treatment of any current major issue by just watching the news, reading the paper, or reading one of those pathetic news magazines (Time, Newsweek, US News, et al.) Well, I suppose you can if you are diligent and either take notes or have a good memory. Blogs, however, have the freedom and the ability to just focus on a few issues, providing the reader with a database of readily accessible news and analysis.
Personally, I’m thankful for the advent of a strong, responsible, trustworthy Blogosphere. It is amazing how disparate the mainstream media and the Blogosphere are when it comes to what issues are covered and discussed. Sometimes its like they are on two different worlds. I’d say I didn’t really start seeing true examples of media bias until I started reading blogs that pointed it out. It’s frustrating, aggravating, and shocking. Here’s an example just from today.
Now it’s a deader horse.