Politics

Media Bias

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Oh, it’s real. But a lot of the places people think they’re seeing it, they’re probably seeing something more mundane. I haven’t yet wrestled all the things I could say about it into one place, but here’s a beginning, and perhaps a step toward a set of parameters for thinking about it.

Pssst … over here.

  • http://www.kozoru.com Justin Gardner

    Well done.

  • callimachus

    Thanks. Among the many things I omitted for space was the fact that not one journalist I’ve worked with in those 22 years has ever spoken or acted as though his motivation was helping his employers make more money. I know the bigwigs up on the fourth floor think that way, but in daily newsgathering and reporting, I can assure you it’s not a factor. Journalists are probably by nature more suspicious of corporations than the average American, more hostile to pure profit motives, more idealistic about their trade, and their own employers rank high on the list of people they dislike. Unless the paper is literally teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and paychecks are in danger, I don’t think that would change.

    However, reporters DO like to see the newspaper’s circulation going up. Because it means they are doing their job, which is to write stories that are considered indispensible by the community. At least, they flatter themselves it means that. Probably it means the newspaper picked up a good line of coupons from the Superfresh store. But there are two ways to measure success in this business, and one is awards, the other is circulation. Journalists still aren’t thinking of circulation as money in someone’s pocket, but it’s a convergence of interest with the bosses. Still, it’s not a reason you do something. Just an affirmation that you’ve done it well.