Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Fair and Biased Press

I was talking with some friends the other day, and as usual the conversation turned to the upcoming election.

Will we keep the House? Will we win the Senate? Will we dump Obama?

During the conversation I had an off the wall thought.

I will allow the Dems to keep the White House and the Senate and give them House. I just want one thing in return:

A fair and honest Press. I want every TV station and Channel; every newspaper and magazine to honestly report what is happening in Washington and every state capital. If that happens for the next 4 years, Then I'll happily vote for a Democrat.

I figure the odds of that happening are about the same as me hitting the Powerball and the Mega Millions in the same week. Twice.

You know what bothers me? We have had a Constitutionally had a free press in this country since 1787. And we have had a biased press since 1787.

The thing was, in the old days you knew the Newspaper was biased, and you read it because of its biases. Today it's CNN & MSNBC on the one side, and Fox News on the other. Back in the day, in Cincinnati at least, the Democrats read the Post and Times Star; Republicans read the Enquirer. You knew how the news would be reported, and expected that bias. The newspapers prided themselves on that bias.

I have access to a unique collection of old Cincinnati newspapers. One day in 1915 a carpenter hung a full length mirror on a bathroom door, and stuffed some of yesterday's newspapers behind it to keep it from rattling.

A couple of years ago they were pulled out. What the carpenter had used were almost complete editions of the Cincinnati Enquirer; the Post and the Times Star. The big news the day, at least internationally, was a German victory in a battle in WWI; a war the United States had not yet entered.

In the Enquirer, it was front page news; full page, with pictures. In the Post, it was a small article on the front page, below the fold. In the Times Star it was buried inside; second or third page, or maybe further back. The big news in the Times Star? A Gas and Electric rate hike.

Each paper played to its base, and unabashedly proclaimed its bias.

And then everything changed. It was subtle at first, but lately has become blatant. Like almost everything else in modern journalism, it hit about the same time as Watergate; when two reporters became bigger news that the story they were covering- Woodward and Bernstein.

Now you will not find a news outlet that with tell you they are biased. and adherents of any particular brand will not admit the outlet they follow has a bias; theirs is the one unbiased outlet; its the rest of them that are biased.

I also find it interesting that once outlets started hiding their bias, they started going under. Locally, the Post went under 5 years ago. The Times Star had merged with the Post in 1958. The Enquirer is hanging on solely because it is the last newspaper in the area. TV News is ratings wise in the dumper as well, and dropping. Can we even mention 'Ratings' and CNN in the same breath without running afoul of some liberal morality double standard?

So where are folks getting their news? Why from biased internet sites; sites that clearly proclaim their bias.

Gee; now ain't that interesting?

No comments: