Media learning that bias doesn't sell
Progressives like to claim that reality has a leftward bias. They say this, in part, because the media reports things from a leftward lean, making it appear that way. At least, it looks that way if you don’t know any better.
For a while now, the media’s biases have been rather blatant. While that never particularly bothered me about MSNBC—they wear their bias on their sleeve rather proudly—it did bother me when people who pretended neutrality were so blatantly biased.
People like CNN.
However, with Jeff Zucker out at CNN, there seems to be a change underway.
CNN’s ubiquitous “Breaking News” banner is gone, now reserved for instances of truly urgent events. Snarky on-screen captions — “Angry Trump Turns Briefing Into Propaganda Session,” for instance — are discouraged. Political shows are trying to book more conservative voices, and producers have been urged to ignore Twitter backlash from the far right and the far left.
A month into his tenure as the new leader of CNN, Chris Licht is starting to leave his mark on the 24-hour news network he inherited in May from its prominent former president, Jeff Zucker. So far, the Licht Doctrine is a change from the Zucker days: less hype, more nuance and a redoubled effort to reach viewers of all stripes.
In other words, CNN is trying to pull out of the leftward bubble that almost suffocated the cable news network.
Zucker’s politics were well known and multiple leaks confirmed he wanted to use the network to attack Republicans. Really, attack anyone to the right of Stalin, if we want to be accurate.
Yet Zucker is out. While it would be nice to say that it was because of the leftward course he charted for the network, it wasn’t.
But he’s still gone and it seems Licht doesn’t think leftward is a good direction
America's largest newspaper chain Gannett has instructed its newsrooms to scale back opinion pieces which are 'repelling readers' who do not want to be told what to do.
The newspaper chain owns the USA Today network which takes in hundreds of local newspapers in almost every state across the country.
At a recent editors committee meeting in April, editors said in a presentation: 'Readers don’t want us to tell them what to think.
'They don’t believe we have the expertise to tell anyone what to think on most issues.
That is, of course, because they don’t.
I say this as an opinion man myself. I often lack expertise in a great many subjects. However, because I’m ADHD, I’m at least conversant on a number of topics, which is part of how I know how wildly USA Today has been off-base with some of their stuff.
Does anyone else remember them presenting “chainsaw bayonets” as a serious thing to be mounted under an AR-15?
I sure do.
Anyway, back to what USA Today and Gannett is doing now…
'They perceive us as having a biased agenda,' according to The Washington Post.
Now, the company will do-away with opinion pieces almost entirely and they will also not allow any endorsement of politicians aside from in local races.
They will no longer endorse presidential candidates, or candidates in House and Senate races.
The only elections they will now cover will be local.
'Today’s contemporary audiences frequently are unable to distinguish between objective news reporting and Opinion content.
Actually, much of the problem is that there is remarkably little objective news reported by anyone.
For example, take Trump’s claims of election fraud.
Now, please find me a mainstream media source that doesn’t refer to his comments as lies. That’s a problem for me because I know there is election fraud in every state in the nation. What we disagree about is the scale.
Plus, saying it’s a lie not just places a value judgment, but it dismisses the argument as well.
It calls Trump himself a liar, often without any evidence, and tells you that anything you see elsewhere suggesting there were problems with the 2020 election is also a lie.
And it’s not necessary. You can simply refer to them as “Trump’s claims” or something like that and leave it there.
But they don’t.
People are getting sick of it and now the news agencies are starting to recognize that no, in fact, people don’t want to be told what to think. Instead, they want to hear the facts and be permitted to make up their minds themselves.
Free thinking is a thing, after all, and a lot of us value it.
Now, does this means biased journalism is on its way out? Oh God no. I wish, but no.
What it does mean, though, is that those journalists are going to have to be a bit more subtle with how they write stuff. They’re going to have to minimize it and hide it so that it’s not blatantly obvious.
But it’ll still happen.
You’ll see the report about a disagreement on a bill and you’ll have Activist A say something, with Activist B responding, only to be rebutted by Activist A’s next quote. That’s just one example of how they can be biased without appearing overly biased.
It’s still preferable to what we have now, though.
What’s interesting is just how long until other news organizations start following along.