Author Topic: What do you think of the current state of the media in the U.S.?  (Read 2475 times)

Dabnasty

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Re: What do you think of the current state of the media in the U.S.?
« Reply #50 on: July 09, 2018, 04:56:03 PM »
Well its not like I can find unbiased articles as evidence of of political bias in the news media but to me, it is obvious.  As far as I can tell, I am not imagining it.  NBC, ABC, CBS, New York Times, Boston Globe, CNN, MSNBC, Yahoo News, Washington Post, Huffington Post, the Guardian...whether television, print or internet publications, all are quite left leaning in their reporting (some blatantly so).

First off, I would question the sentiment "As far as I can tell, I am not imagining it." The center is going to look left-leaning from the right; similarly, the same center will look right-leaning from the left. The trick about human brains is the stuff that seems unbiased to each of us is going to be the stuff that best matches our personal biases. "It seems obvious to me" isn't solid evidence. There are plenty of studies about media bias that show a nice sprinkling of sources near the center, with some trending left or right. Fox is usually represented much farther from center than anything else generally considered mainstream.

You've listed a weird mixture of things that are genuinely center afaik (NBC, ABC, CBS) and things that are known to be left-leaning (NYT, MSNBC, WaPo, HuffPo). I'm not saying left-leaning publications don't exist, but rather that they aren't 100% of the media as you seem to believe. In fact, the two pubs I listed (WSJ and Economist) I would consider to be higher tier than MSNBC, WaPo, or HuffPo; they would be at the top with NYT as high quality but not perfectly centrist.

I wouldn't consider the economist or WSJ mainstream publications but that's only because I don't know a single person in real life who actually reads either of them.  They may be more popular than I realize.

It sounds like your problem isn't with the media but rather with the news and/or social circle you choose for yourself.

This doesn't take into account all the "Pop-News" click-baity news outlets which I can't even name but there are tons of them that are constantly churning out articles that scew left.

There's plenty of trash clickbait on both sides. All of it is harmful.

Every entertainer is forced into the cult of progressive thought and will openly support only democratic candidates.  If one dares to "come out" as a conservative their career is over leaving only a handful of 80's and 90's sitcom stars who can no longer find work.  Every single late night talk-show bashes republicans and pushes progressive agendas.  Could you imagine someone standing up at any award show and speaking about traditional family values, self-reliance, strong borders, cutting government programs etc?  They might be killed on the spot as all of the stars hurl their promotional items at them.

I'm not going to deny that Hollywood trends left, but entertainers having opinions is hardly the same thing as the media being universally slanted. There are a lot of reasons for that - entertainers are usually in big cities, which trend left; entertainment has a high concentration of LGBT people, whose rights were more quickly embraced by the left than the right; etc. If you're really upset about this I'm sure there's an interesting discussion to be had, but it's not the same discussion as about media bias.

Overall I think reading the news is better for you than watching it, and there are several reliable conservative print outlets. I'm sorry that you don't want to recognize them, but they exist. The sensationalism of the news is a real problem that GuitarStv discussed, but it's a problem media of all partisan slants is facing. And the best way to counter it, as an individual, is to seek out quality journalism and support it.

I tried to reply to this already, so sorry if I repeat myself.  It appears my original reply did not go through, which I'm glad of because it was pretty snarky.  When I originally read your reply it struck me as rude, which it really is not now that I read it again. 

You caught me hedging my argument and admitting that I may carry my own biases.  That being said, I do not believe that NBC, CBS, or ABC are genuinely "center" news outlets at all.  You can call this my opinion if you'd like, since I don't plan on spending the next few months of my life researching the topic to prove my point.  I would just say that just because they do not offer opinion pieces that scew to the left does not mean they are not left leaning.  What is omitted and included in the daily broadcasts can scew in one direction or the other, which I'm sure you already understand.  One thing that has occurred to me while reading these replies is that progressive ideas do tend to be more newsworthy than conservative ideas.  A bunch of people who march in the streets for change are far more interesting than a bunch of people who just want to go to church and leave things alone.  There is no news in leaving things alone.

The only place I read the economist is at the doctors office.  I work in a blue collar field.  None of my coworkers or friends read it.  I will not be seeking out economist reading reading friends.  I apologize.  I may subscribe though as I've been looking for more in-depth journalism lately.  I know hundreds of people and have had thousands of conversations with people from all walks of life.  Nobody has ever brought up any articles from the economist.  Most people talk about things they see on facebook, twitter or yahoo or they talk about other stuff like what they had for breakfast or sports or their kids.  This is real life for me and I don't think I'm an outlier.  I don't use facebook or twitter but if I read yahoo news right now I can guarantee any political pieces will be bashing trump, pushing some sort of agenda that most democrat politicians would get behind, praising the Obamas in some way, criticizing the Trump family in some way, collecting a bunch of twitter rants from celebrities regarding some political issue and calling it an article etc.

What you are describing is bias.  Personal bias.  You're definitely on the right side of the political spectrum.  You'd be happier if more news was covered with a right leaning bias.  You think places like ABC, CBS, etc skew left.

On the other hand, I am on the left side of the political spectrum.  I'd be happier if there were more news covered from a liberal leaning bias.  To me, I think places like ABC, CBS, etc skew right.

See how that works? 

The things that are truly in the center, will seem like they are left leaning to a person on the right, and will seem like they are right leaning to a person on the left.  That's the exact dynamic in play here.

I understand personal bias.  Do you?  Would you be surprised to know that Journalists that self-identify as democrats outnumber those who self-identify as republicans anywhere from 4 or 5-to-1, depending on which research you believe?  This is not my personal bias, just facts.

So the people who are really doing the research and understanding the issues tend to lean left.  hmmm :)

I'm (partially) kidding when I say that. I do realize that figure is skewed by the type of person who gets in to journalism and other factors.

In regards to your point that most mainstream outlets can't stop bashing Trump, that doesn't prove left bias at all in my opinion. Regardless of your opinion on policy, he's not a nice guy. Often he's doing it on purpose to play into the sensationalist reporting style we've been discussing. Even a lot of his supporters acknowledge this and the ones that don't are blinded by something. His tactics really aren't that complex and I've felt this way about him since well before he ran for president. He was a democrat back then (which I was unaware of) but I still saw him as a narcissistic con-man. Sometimes I'm thankful that he didn't run for the democrats because I didn't want to vote republican this time around and I would've had to.

In other words I don't think the current "leftness" of the media is a fair representation of what main stream media is. Did it lean more left than right before Trump. Probably a little. But now it's just something else entirely. How can the media report straight up lies coming out of Trump's mouth and not be biased?

Adam Zapple

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Re: What do you think of the current state of the media in the U.S.?
« Reply #51 on: July 09, 2018, 05:23:17 PM »
Quote
So the people who are really doing the research and understanding the issues tend to lean left.  hmmm :)

I'm (partially) kidding when I say that. I do realize that figure is skewed by the type of person who gets in to journalism and other factors.

In regards to your point that most mainstream outlets can't stop bashing Trump, that doesn't prove left bias at all in my opinion. Regardless of your opinion on policy, he's not a nice guy. Often he's doing it on purpose to play into the sensationalist reporting style we've been discussing. Even a lot of his supporters acknowledge this and the ones that don't are blinded by something. His tactics really aren't that complex and I've felt this way about him since well before he ran for president. He was a democrat back then (which I was unaware of) but I still saw him as a narcissistic con-man. Sometimes I'm thankful that he didn't run for the democrats because I didn't want to vote republican this time around and I would've had to.

In other words I don't think the current "leftness" of the media is a fair representation of what main stream media is. Did it lean more left than right before Trump. Probably a little. But now it's just something else entirely. How can the media report straight up lies coming out of Trump's mouth and not be biased?

Lol, who are these people doing research you are referencing?  Oh that's right, quoting tweets counts as research I guess :).  I think it has been a slow progression to the left but the bias is not new.  It is possible that self-identifying as a republican in liberal media circles is a bad career move, which is why so few journalists do it.  There may be a few secret conservatives lurking around in the shadows.

I agree with everything you say about Trump.  I believed when he was running for president that the media was purposely giving him lots of press in hopes that he would win the Repub. primary and be an easy figure to beat for Hillary.  I get that this is tin foil hat stuff but it is plausible.   
« Last Edit: July 09, 2018, 05:32:42 PM by Adam Zapple »

tyort1

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Re: What do you think of the current state of the media in the U.S.?
« Reply #52 on: July 09, 2018, 05:31:48 PM »
Quote
So the people who are really doing the research and understanding the issues tend to lean left.  hmmm :)

I'm (partially) kidding when I say that. I do realize that figure is skewed by the type of person who gets in to journalism and other factors.

In regards to your point that most mainstream outlets can't stop bashing Trump, that doesn't prove left bias at all in my opinion. Regardless of your opinion on policy, he's not a nice guy. Often he's doing it on purpose to play into the sensationalist reporting style we've been discussing. Even a lot of his supporters acknowledge this and the ones that don't are blinded by something. His tactics really aren't that complex and I've felt this way about him since well before he ran for president. He was a democrat back then (which I was unaware of) but I still saw him as a narcissistic con-man. Sometimes I'm thankful that he didn't run for the democrats because I didn't want to vote republican this time around and I would've had to.

In other words I don't think the current "leftness" of the media is a fair representation of what main stream media is. Did it lean more left than right before Trump. Probably a little. But now it's just something else entirely. How can the media report straight up lies coming out of Trump's mouth and not be biased?

Lol, who are these people doing research you are referencing?  Oh that's right, quoting tweets counts as research I guess :).  I think it has been a slow progression to the left but the bias is not new.  I agree with everything you say about Trump.  I believed when he was running for president that the media was purposely giving him lots of press in hopes that he would win the Repub. primary and be an easy figure to beat for Hillary.  I get that this is tin foil hat stuff but it is plausible.

Why are people even wasting their time one this stuff?  Seriously there are so many other, better things in life.  Part of MMM is to question where you spend your time/energy so you can use that (limited) resource optimally.  Getting in a tizzy over something like the media is exactly the type of thing that wastes both time and energy. 

Our country is becoming more polarized mostly because people watch the news and get angry.  If you want to fix the problem, it's easy.  Unplug the news and start treating the people around you with respect, even when they have different political views.  Especially when they have differing political views. 

Complaining that the mainstream media is "too left" is actually the very essence of the problem.  I could complain that it's "too right", and then we could be at each other's throats about "who's correct".  You can play if you want.  But if you play, no one wins.

Raymond Reddington

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Re: What do you think of the current state of the media in the U.S.?
« Reply #53 on: July 09, 2018, 05:43:02 PM »
Why are people even wasting their time one this stuff?  Seriously there are so many other, better things in life.  Part of MMM is to question where you spend your time/energy so you can use that (limited) resource optimally.  Getting in a tizzy over something like the media is exactly the type of thing that wastes both time and energy. 

Our country is becoming more polarized mostly because people watch the news and get angry.  If you want to fix the problem, it's easy.  Unplug the news and start treating the people around you with respect, even when they have different political views.  Especially when they have differing political views. 


This. A thousand times this. I would add that media being biased creates this monster, and it'd be great to see it change for the better, as it's harder to go out and enjoy life without some jerkhead bringing up politics in a social circle. Ironically, that's why I finally joined the forums at MMM, to meet like minded people who are living life, pursuing FI, and doing pursuits worthy in their own right, and otherwise not relating every single activity in life to politics, or choosing to talk politics at every possible opportunity.

Tass

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Re: What do you think of the current state of the media in the U.S.?
« Reply #54 on: July 09, 2018, 05:53:35 PM »
I'd prefer we learned to talk civilly about politics even in our social circles where people disagree. Avoiding the topic for purposes of civility leaves all our worldviews a little more narrow. That's how polarization happens.

Adam Zapple

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Re: What do you think of the current state of the media in the U.S.?
« Reply #55 on: July 09, 2018, 07:08:40 PM »
I usually don't enjoy reading forums about politics but enjoy it here because MMM readers seem to be well educated and provide interesting viewpoints outside of the typical talking point stuff I see elsewhere.  None of my friends discuss politics all that often mostly out of politeness and not wanting conversations to get heated, as political conversations often do.

MDM

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Re: What do you think of the current state of the media in the U.S.?
« Reply #56 on: July 09, 2018, 07:47:50 PM »
Note that the US Constitution says Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of...the press.

It doesn't say "the press must report facts only."

Different businesses design their paper/TV/radio/web/etc. offerings to appeal to different audiences, and sell advertising space to other businesses wishing to reach those audiences.  To all who "purchase" information by serving as an audience, caveat emptor.

Michael in ABQ

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Re: What do you think of the current state of the media in the U.S.?
« Reply #57 on: July 09, 2018, 10:21:15 PM »
Over the years I've seen a few articles written by local journalists about my industry or sometimes my organization, and they've always been inaccurate or incomplete, not telling the whole story, counterpoints, details, etc.  Sometimes it may have been to stir controversy, drama, get clicks, or to weave a storyline of their choosing.  I've learned to read news stories, especially negative or critique pieces, with a critical eye and understanding that there's likely a counterpoint, extra detail or explanation that hasn't been shared.

Same about my field. They all write these "articles" with the stuck up tone of a know it all, yet the most basic facts of what actually transpired are missing or wrong. Even articles that make an effort to understand my field, take exhaustive measures to explain things correctly, culminate with an oversimplified suggested solution that lacks any real practical application (or is limited in scope) because they ignore the very same real world considerations they painstakingly detailed earlier in the article, clearly just to enhance their qualifications to oversimplify later.

Now multiply this by everything.

Journalists/Reporters are not experts in most things. Sure you have some that specialize in a niche (i.e. somebody on space.com writing about rocket launches for 30 years) but by and large the person who writes a story is not an expert and so they will get things wrong or just gloss over them.



News is just another form of entertainment to be consumed. Virtually all television news is little more than reality TV. Local news is always going to focus on murders and other bad things because that's what gets attention. National news is generally just noise. When you have to fill 24 hours a day, or a whole newspaper, or whatever the medium is the emphasis is on quantity over quality. That Pulitizer prize winning investigative series takes months or years of hard work and in the end will probably generate about the same ad dollars as a half-dozen articles on the "latest update" on whatever the story of the day is. How many tens of thousands of articles have probably been written about the soccer team stuck in the cave in Thailand? Yet the end of a 20-year war between Ethiopia and Eritrea and the possible end to the war between Sudan and South Sudan are almost unheard of and these have resulted in thousands killed and hundreds of thousands displaced.


When you step back and look at the trends over a few weeks or months you quickly see how much of the "news" is just meaningless drivel that is solely written to make a buck off advertising.



I browse the headlines on Google News but rarely click on any of the articles. I do find some good long form articles through https://www.realclearinvestigations.com/ (one of the sites affiliated with Real Clear Politics). I recently subscribed to Geopolitical Futures https://geopoliticalfutures.com/ which provides a couple of articles a day focused on geopolitics. Very well researched and in-depth with no political bias (though mostly written from a US viewpoint). They look a lot at trends over months and years which is refreshing. It puts a lot of the day to day mainstream news stories in focus, i.e. Putin making some anti-US statement for domestic consumption because he's trying to implement unpopular pension reforms and draw attention away from that.

fasteddie911

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Re: What do you think of the current state of the media in the U.S.?
« Reply #58 on: July 10, 2018, 08:42:27 AM »

That Pulitizer prize winning investigative series takes months or years of hard work and in the end will probably generate about the same ad dollars as a half-dozen articles on the "latest update" on whatever the story of the day is.


I've even seen problems with this type of reporting on my industry.  While they may do a long investigation and go deeper than a everyday newstory, they still miss on many points, don't explain things, and weave a grand story that sounds nice to outsiders but is full of holes to insiders.

BlueMR2

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Re: What do you think of the current state of the media in the U.S.?
« Reply #59 on: July 10, 2018, 11:46:18 AM »
I still like to watch some mainstream news just to know what's going on in general.  The accuracy on details is so horrible though.  I find myself cringing frequently at how just plain wrong they are and knowing that so many people are going to take it as gospel because it's on the TV.  It really doesn't seem to matter if it's a left/right slanted newscast either.  It used to be easy to bash the outliers because of their faults, but over the last few years it's turned into the entire industry.  We've reached the point at which no media outlet can be trusted.

pecunia

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Re: What do you think of the current state of the media in the U.S.?
« Reply #60 on: July 23, 2018, 09:18:18 PM »
I think we all have to admit that the thought police are doing an admirable job with our media.  Their actions are such that many people out there don't even realize that they exist.  Hours are spent on "controversies" that don't affect people's lives one bit while the "real" issues that do affect them are ignored.  Hats off to these guys.