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Political Bias Is Destroying Peoples Faith in Journalism (nypost.com)
72 points by Trisell 20 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 47 comments



It's not political bias. People's faith in journalism is being destroyed by the journalists themselves.

https://money.cnn.com/2016/11/04/media/abc-news-stage-live-s...

ABC faking a crime scene.

https://i.imgur.com/QDU9OGE.jpg

Anderson Cooper faking a scene.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/04...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2016/04/...

Which is it Washington Post? One of these articles is FALSE.

We are losing faith in journalism because the journalists are WRONG.


In regards to the Anderson Cooper thing: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/anderson-cooper-hurricane/.

He also did an on-air segment with the full footage: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/09/1....

Not to say that CNN is not often wrong, but this is a meme that isn't true.


That snopes rating is bullshit. Snopes is also well known for bias that the journalists cover.

It doesn't matter which hurricane it is; it's whether or not it's bullshit for him to be doing that. That's it. The picture isn't fake, it's true that he FAKED that news. It's fake news. The hurricane's name doesnt matter.


You need to realize that snopes is a propaganda site that lies all the time. They are very liberal and don't believe in the truth.

https://vimeo.com/34419805

The massive corporate centralization of all media channels is the primary source of distrust in journalism now. It seeks profit by whatever controversy, fake news, or distraction that will sell ads, regardless of traditional value.

Being a staunch environmentalist I obviously loathe most Republicans and hate centrist-dominated Democrats almost as much.

But it is clear to me that the partisanship of the country is due to a flood of media desperate for clicks, overwhelming people who have not or cannot adapt to the propaganda firehose.

Here's a fun little experiment: where can you tune in on TV for balanced opinions on issues that will actually account for more that a single viewpoints, coming out of the same mouth? You know, things like "caveats" or saying "granted" about some aspect of the opposing side?

Moderation doesn't fuel emotions, and emotions and radicalization are what gets you constant viewership.

Like all other industries in America, the conglomerates need to be split up.


I like how they try to blame subversion and propaganda on the "current divide" in politics.

Most people know good and well whats happening, its more the intellectuals who are making out well in this current environment who are doing (in good faith) the mental gymnastics to put the fault of the american media's decline on some abstract idea as if tree's didn't bear fruit.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2013/07/14/u-s-repeals-propaganda-...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smith%E2%80%93Mundt_Act


>Being a staunch environmentalist I obviously loathe most Republicans and hate centrist-dominated Democrats almost as much.

What are your thoughts on the requirement that environmental policies are tied very closely to left economic policies? I'd like the option to vote for string environmental policies but they seem coupled with economic policies that I don't want to vote for.


Well said. The business of journalism is what's killing journalism.


I wonder how much of it is really bias or people perceiving bias. I know people who think that if they read something negative about a political figure they like then the person and publication who wrote it are automatically biased in favor of the other side.

It also seems like it might be hard to write about certain political stories without being accused of bias. Is it possible to write anything about the shutdown and border wall fiasco that doesn't paint he President and GOP in a bad light? Wont many people incorrectly perceive that as biased reporting?

I don't mean to imply that there isn't actual bias but it just seems like a strange thing to bring up at a time when certain political figures are acting in such extreme ways. Simply reporting on those actions and their consequences if often going to be very negative.


I think it's less about the reporting on political figures and more on the harassment/defamation of regular civilians like the Covington High School kids.

And of course all the botched bombshell scoops that are retracted 24 hrs later.


"It's the beginning of the end!"


Here in case you didn't read:

> It is not hard to find examples of how far we have strayed from reporting standards in the Trump era. A simple example is Time Magazine falsely reporting on President Donald J. Trump’s first day in office, stating that he’d removed a statue of Martin Luther King from the Oval Office. The news went viral. But the writer did not follow the most basic rule of journalism — pick up the phone and ask the White House if it was really gone, and why? The writer late wrote a correction on his Twitter account, stating “The MLK bust is still in the Oval Office. It was obscured by an agent and door.”

There are numerous examples. Most recently the entire media running with a Buzzfeed story to the tune of "Trump is finished" that Mueller himself disputed, or the stuff about the MAGA hat kids that allegedly surrounded and mocked a Native American peace activist (turns out he had muscled his way into their gathering and was physically intimidating them, but the press ran with a selectively edited video and didn't bother corroborating it). This is stuff that gets widespread coverage before any journalist bothers with due diligence.

I think it's a shame because a free press is one of the only ways to keep the government in check but they are shredding their own credibility, apparently because of personal biases (but who really knows), and the result of that is a government that can rightfully dismiss a lot of what gets reported. How do you recover after "crying wolf" too many times?


That's part of it but I think it goes much deeper than just recent examples like the Covington kids. I can't stand most of cable news because any topic that I know anything about, political or not, I know I'm being lied to through omission of key facts. CNN/MSNBC are especially unwatchable because, like clockwork and for many years now, they bring on several "experts" that magically always champion Democrat's causes but will only bring on few or very weak proponents of any other opposing view. Many media outlets will continually bring out their best champions for something to go up against the absolute worst proponent the other side has to offer. To people who only watch CNN/MSNBC, it will look like Macho Man Randy Savage is constantly beating down Spongebob but that's simply the purposeful illusion they carefully cultivate.

There is also a tendril that reaches into Academia. Free speech on most campuses is dead. The left has seen to that. Kids are being militantly trained to shut down speakers with whom they disagree, simply because they disagree. This empowers the rest of politics because these kids will never let fairness and unbiased reporting happen and the more prestigious the school this happens at, the more likely these students will affect the media in their lifetimes.


> these kids will never let fairness and unbiased reporting happen and the more prestigious the school this happens at, the more likely these students will affect the media in their lifetimes

You're not wrong, but I see that as self-correcting. If the media continues to undermine their credibility, then independent journalism will continue to rise. We're already seeing YouTube creators with bigger followings than any of the traditional media channels. This is a double-edged sword because a lot of these channels don't have the same level of journalistic training that traditional media champions, but training is also a moot point when the traditional actors have abandoned their best practices to chase sensational headlines.

We are rapidly approaching a place where people can choose whatever facts they want to believe because everything is questionable. That is more dangerous to democracy than the so-called fascist president the media is railing against.


When I read this I thought it was sarcastically “proving the point” of the root comment.

MSNBC’s programming in the US evenings is largely opinion/political talk, and isn’t presented as news but as editorial. One can object to opinions, but it is unfair to criticize journalists for op/ed content—just like with newspapers. Very often the journalists personally disagree with opinion/editorial page content, but everyone understands that content isn’t bound by journalism’s standards.


> (turns out he had muscled his way into their gathering and was physically intimidating them, but the press ran with a selectively edited video and didn't bother corroborating it)

Looks like you're running with what their PR firm says[1].

[1] https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/local/2019/01/21/...


Your article says that Nathan Phillips, the activist agrees. There is even a video backing this claim.

What if the PR firm is saying the truth?


But that would be a hard pill for some people to swallow as then they'd have to admit they've been misled and acted badly towards a kid.


The article says that Nathan Phillips agrees that he was physically intimidating a minor?


You're free to split hairs over whether an adult walking up to a kid and beating a drum in his face qualifies as physical intimidation, but I am "running with" my assessment of what the video shows.


Of course it's possible to write about the government shutdown or the border wall from a neutral point of view.

If you can't imagine such a story would possibly portray the current administration in a positive light, then you are not visualizing the story from the other point of view. Imagine allowing the White House to write the story, for instance. Or Fox News. Or the RNC. etc. I'm not saying this is the way the story should be written-- only that it is certainly possible to spin the story either way.

It's the journalist's job to present just the facts, without spin. It's not an easy task, but that's the way it should be.


It's hard to take this article seriously coming from the New York Post [1], which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, the owner of dozens of politically biased news organizations and Fox News, a propaganda outlet made expressly to protect the Republican party from another loss like the Nixon impeachment.

[1] https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/new-york-post/


It's hard to take a criticism of an article seriously if it only involves an ad hominem absent any critique of the actual content of the article.


Yes, and a responsible publication would at least acknowledge their owners hand in the current mess.


I recently watched the "Hulk Hogan / Gawker" Netflix documentary, "Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press." It was only about the Hulk Hogan / Gawker trial at the beginning, and then it turned into a full-on propaganda piece about how journalism is good and orange man bad. Maybe I am too dumb to have understood, but my takeaway was the morals of the story were basically: (1) it's bad that rich people can influence journalism and that needs to stop and (2) people need to start believing in journalists again because journalists are fundamental to democracy and actually they're very good etc.

I agree with #1 to some extent, but they came up with the dumbest possible example in pointing out that the lawsuit was funded by Peter Thiel. I'm pretty sure there's a concept on the "left" that says it's not your right to "out" a person's sexuality. Gawker violated that. Not that I (or even the law) care one way or another, and not that this was the focus of the trial (it wasn't), but I get why Thiel was livid with them. Thiel (secretly) funded a lawsuit against Gawker for posting a sex tape of Hulk Hogan. I'm not even sure what mental backflips you have to do to presume that this was newsworthy or okay. They tried to explain it to us, and the best they got was the meta-point that Thiel funded the lawsuit. Nothing worthy of note about why they had a right (via Freedom of the Press) to make a sex tape public against the wishes of one of the participants. Maybe if it was a sex tape surrounding the impeachment of a current president, I'd understand.

And somehow, I'm supposed to believe that this means there's a slippery slope now, where journalists can no longer freely state the news, for fear of being sued. As if this case weren't limited to the example of, maybe don't post a sex tape of some D-list celebrity as news.

All that said, and per the article here, I am unhappy with "journalists" as a group, specifically with their sanctimonious claims that they're protecting democracy. And the conclusion of this idea, when you take it to the end, is that people simply need to believe them on moral principle, non-believers are against democracy.

They're the victims here, the perpetrators are all the people who don't believe their stories any more--as if there was nothing they did to put themselves in this place.


> (1) it's bad that rich people can influence journalism and that needs to stop

But when ~6 companies own 90% of US media, that doesn't count as influence.

The best part is, they don't even have to lie. They can shape public opinion just by selecting which stories get covered, or get more prominence, without giving you a smoking gun false-story you can point at to prove their bias.


I don't even bother clicking on most news links anymore. I follow a Reuters RSS feed for business and market news and a few NPR feeds for general news. Over the past couple or years I've lost a lot of faith in most of the major news outlets. Some are little more than propaganda, and the ones that manage to remain factually correct most of the time have their reporting clouded by bias.


She’s saying journalists are becoming activists rather than seekers of facts and corroborating evidence. Today they will cherrypick data and facts to advocate for one side or the other, but because roughly 7 out of 10 journalists are registered Democrats this attitude will favor Democrat/liberal narratives over Repub/Conservative narratives.

One of most hilarious things happening, as others point out is the “fact checks” which should be called “gotcha on technicalities”. No, it wasn’t 200,000 gallons, it was 189,480 gallons, liar! No, unemployment isn’t down to 4.2%, it’s actually expected to be down to 3.9%, you are so wrong!


I agree. News is supposed to be presented in an unbiased way, but virtually every source now heavily injects some spin with each article.

It's a shame, really. But I'm very glad Lara Logan is speaking out. It will cost her, but by raising awareness of the issue maybe things can start to improve.


I've weaned myself almost entirely off of sensationalized news, especially social feeds. I try to eliminate any "colorful" (read: opinionated) news sources, be they progressive or conservative. I will only consciously consume objective reporting, from outlets which I respect for neutrality.

Reuters, for example, still does a great job at focusing only on the facts, without attempting to interpret or inject personal opinions. They hold their journalists to a very high degree of journalistic integrity, and it really shows.


It's not political bias. People's faith in journalism is being destroyed by the journalists themselves.


I’m curious, what's wrong with the two CNN articles? One is written 2015 and the other 2019 by two different persons and one seems to be a doctor?


There's tons of bullshit from the media: https://i.imgur.com/QDU9OGE.jpg


And you don’t think it’s legitimate to write those two pieces, although there are 4 years between them, two different cases, and two different persons that wrote them? I think for this particularly case, you can’t say it’s wrong. It’s two different pieces telling two different stories by two completely different persons with four years apart. Much can happen in four years. I’m mostly impressed that you picked them up, with them written so far apart.


Considering all of his examples were top boogeymen of the alt right, I'd be surprised if there was any deeper reasoning behind it than parroting talking points.


I think the issue is instead the rush to publish. With the internet you have to put something out on a story almost immediately 24/7. Even basic fact checking is a huge time drag when you have less than hours in which to get something out.

Political Bias is in my mind largely a side effect: politically charged stories get lots of eyes and getting to them late means missing out on the inevitable flutter of angry and indignant retweets about the story. So loads of political stories get rushed, which means we see a lot of slanted ones (because more are written), and because they were rushed they are missing facts or have incorrect facts.


Yellow journalism is not just a thing of the past. A free press is important, that doesn't mean all press is high-quality or well-intentioned.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_journalism


This thread consists of conservatives whining about CNN and others, vs others taking shots at the post and the author of the article.

So yeah, bias. I'm not at all convinced this is a "both sides" issue. You can find errors in coverage and examples of bias, but the scale of the Murdoch/Mercer news empires really has no match from the center. The actual left wing is pretty well unrepresented.

The big problem I have is their obsession with ridiculous fact checking now. Not checking how many bodies are actually in the morgue, or whether or not a statue was removed. I mean the bullshit pedantry. Donald Trump says in the state of the union that the US has been at war in the middle east for almost 19 years. The NYT "fact checks" that as "actually it's only been almost 18 years". What does that accomplish? Is anyone more informed? Is there any story there? Is there any commentary on the state of the union, or just a summary? Does it matter at all? Is their fact check even accurate?

My problem with it is that this has replaced any sort of quality journalism with just a mass of worthless fact checks and the important stuff gets buried.


There's huge bias on both sides, especially to the extremes.

There are very few moderate left or moderate right news outlets, perhaps because moderate news isn't as prone to the virality of the far left/far right viewpoints.

"Fact checking" largely seems to be an attempt at appeasement to the error-rate of instant news.


[flagged]


A follow-up on Logan's Benghazi reporting: http://nymag.com/news/features/lara-logan-cbs-news-2014-5/.

Some excerpts:

----------

> After defending the report for more than a week, Logan was forced to apologize and later take an indefinite leave of absence while CBS conducted an internal inquiry. Her colleagues, including veteran CBS correspondents Steve Kroft and Bob Simon, were apoplectic about the damage to 60 Minutes’ reputation. Morley Safer, the only founding member of the cast left on the 45-year-old program, went into the office of CBS News chairman and 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager’s office last fall and demanded that he fire Logan.

But Fager (who declined to comment for this story) refused. Instead, he said that Logan will return sometime this year. His decision sent a ripple of discontent through CBS News, prompting questions about Fager’s judgment. And as the months have rolled on, Logan’s return appears less and less certain.

----------

> And just as important was the enthusiasm of Moonves. “The only person who pushed Lara on Don [Hewitt] was Les,” says a CBS staffer familiar with those events. “He said that Moonves loved her.”

Logan was not shy about letting people know she had a direct line to the boss. “She was very fond of saying, ‘I could end your career with a phone call,’ ” says a former CBS producer.

----------

> Because of the short deadline, and because it was a book by a sister company, 60 Minutes’ usual fact-checking procedures were not followed. No calls were made to the State Department or the FBI specifically to vet Davies’s claims.

----------

> Logan’s own credulity, it seems, was the central pillar of the report. When asked why she found Davies’s account believable, Logan said that Davies was one of the “best guys you’ll ever meet” and a few minutes with him would convince anyone of his candor, according to a person familiar with her comments. And Davies’s tale of heroic special-forces operators being let down by politicians and bureaucrats thousands of miles from the front made sense in the world in which Logan had been living for the better part of a decade. And while that narrative cast might have raised eyebrows at the old CBS News, the politics in the post-Rather era were more complicated—McClellan leans more conservative than has been traditional at the show.

----------

> Benghazi had been thoroughly politicized from the beginning. But rather than steering clear of the political battle, Logan headed right toward it, consulting with Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a strong critic of the administration’s handling of the incident whom she’d met once in Afghanistan. “I really didn’t know her until she started doing this piece on Benghazi,” he told me.

The two met two or three times to talk about the Libya attack, with Graham telling Logan that from his point of view, it was “a fair thing to say” that there was a “build-up of Al Qaeda types” in the area—a major talking point for the right in arguments that the Obama White House tried covering up alleged terrorist links.

Graham declared Logan’s report the “death blow” to the Obama administration’s narrative about Benghazi.

----------


[flagged]


Your comment is about personality of the author, instead of the content of the article. Here’s more info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem


With respect, I described very specifically how she was allowed to report a story even after expressing what might be reasonably considered bias. This occurred at a mainstream news organization that is supposedly liberal.

After the story was revealed to be false, she was given favorable treatment. At no point did I attack Ms. Logan's "personality", but yes I did strongly criticize her reporting.

This is an argument by example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_by_example.


> she was allowed to report a story

Even if that’s true (sorry, I’m too lazy to fact check stuff about a person I didn’t knew existed 1 hour ago), what she reported in the past is still not too relevant to this particular story

With sufficient motivation and modern internet, people can find unpleasant things about the past of any person, including you and me.

Just because we can doesn’t mean we should. Also doesn’t mean we should stop discussing any subjects at all, and instead discuss what the article authors did 15 years ago.


I provided all the links in the original comment, and the follow-up comment.

The argument I'm making is simple: in the originally submitted article, Ms. Logan is making a claim:

> We dismiss conservative media outlets for their political bias, but we don’t hold liberal media outlets to the same standard. Many journalists who claim to be objective have publicly taken a political stand, saying the urgency of the time justifies a departure from journalistic standards. Yet they ask us to believe their reporting is still unbiased?

Please actually read what was linked and sourced, and see if this isn't just a little bit ironic. She was given special treatment to report a story that conservatives very much wanted to be true. When it turned out not to be, she was spared punishment that one of her very prominent liberal predecessors endured.

Secondly, this didn't happen 15 years ago. The Benghazi story is literally Lara Logan's last significant journalistic piece of note. The fact that you are "too lazy to fact check" is your own issue.


> I provided all the links in the original comment

Right, and I provided none. Maybe if will search I’ll find counter-links. Maybe your links are 100% unbiased and accurate. Who knows?

> and see if this isn't just a little bit ironic

I don’t see irony but I see a confirming fact. The OP is a professional journalist herself, she never claims she is, or always was, free from the political bias she writes about. Quite the opposite, she confirms she has bias herself: “There is nothing more human than opinions and bias. To say we have none is dishonest.” She also admits the responsibility: “Frankly, I don’t blame them. Responsibility for this begins with us.”

> She was given special treatment to report a story that conservatives very much wanted to be true.

I live in Europe and therefore I don’t care too much about US politics. But based what I read on US media, the story seems true objectively. If you’ll read other comments to this HN post, you’ll see many anecdotal evidences.

These are just anecdotes, but based on multiple opinion polls, US population in general also thinks so. Couple links: https://news.gallup.com/poll/195542/americans-trust-mass-med... https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/334897-poll-majority-s... https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/01/tr...

The first one has “by party” graph, which shows the trend has started around 2006, long before Trump, and while the results indeed correlate with party, the downward trend is same across all respondents.

What happened in 2006? Many things, but one among them, Facebook opened free registration to general public and its user base has exploded. Was 6m monthly users in 2005, became 58m in 2007. Might be related.


>> She was given special treatment to report a story that conservatives very much wanted to be true.

> I live in Europe and therefore I don’t care too much about US politics. But based what I read on US media, the story seems true objectively. If you’ll read other comments to this HN post, you’ll see many anecdotal evidences.

Again, you misunderstand. She reported a Benghazi story, that if true would have damned the Obama administration for a potentially criminal cover-up. If you paid any attention to the 2016 US election, one of Trump's primary attack lines against Clinton was her handling of the Benghazi attack and subsequent investigation. This is the "story" I'm referring to.

> I live in Europe and therefore I don’t care too much about US politics. But based what I read on US media, the story seems true objectively. If you’ll read other comments to this HN post, you’ll see many anecdotal evidences.

Take a look at some real academic studies on this matter: https://observer.com/2018/06/media-bias-can-readers-trust-me.... http://www.niemanlab.org/2018/10/heres-how-much-americans-tr....

Americans don't trust media, but ask them if they trust media outlets that are associated with their own partisan leanings, and you will see there is quite vibrant support.

Look at the polling for support for some of the largest names in American media. The support is quite robust. In fact, look at an updated version of the very Gallup poll you cite: https://news.gallup.com/poll/243665/media-trust-continues-re.... Notice any changes?


> If you paid any attention to the 2016 US election

Sorry mate, I did not.

> at some real academic studies on this matter

Do you think Simmons Research, LLC are real academics and this is unlike Gallup, Inc.? Neither of them is from academia, both are commercial entities selling some B2B services.

I’ve just tried to but I wasn’t able to find academic sources on fake news, but here’s tangential research. http://science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6380/1146 Hint: sci-hub.tw Given user base of social networks in modern world, this is not reassuring at all.

Also this http://science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6380/1094.full but that’s just an overview article with little actual data.

> Notice any changes?

Some improvement indeed, but still, 55% people said they trust “not very much” or “none at all“. Don’t you think the number is a bit too high?




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