Media Bias in the Political Process

Last week, I had the honor of speaking at Ocean County College’s Fall Colloquium on the topic media Media Bias in the Political Process. In my talk, I took the position that there is no widespread bias in the media today. However, I did outline what I perceive to be a series of major problems and issues confronting the news industry.

In light of all the charges and counter-charges we’ve heard about the media over the past few days, I thought a few words from the close of my speech might be relevant to the current discussion and hopefully of some value for guidance as we move forward with this year’s historic presidential campaign:

“We have more news outlets than ever. And no one is going to sort out the good, the bad and the ugly for you. To make intelligent, informed decisions, we need to be open to all viewpoints.

“One of the downsides about all the media outlets available today is that we can choose to never read, listen or view anything with which we disagree. If you lean to the right, you can get what you want from Fox News. Lean to the left and you’re likely to have much in common with MSNBC.

“When there were fewer news outlets than we have today, we had no choice but to be exposed to different perspectives and ideologies. Today, we have to make a conscious effort to do this.

“So I leave you with a challenge of sorts.

“Watch the news on a different station tonight. Or read a different newspaper tomorrow morning.

Visit the websites for the Columbia Journalism Review, the PEW Research Center or one of the other organizations regularly producing research, analyses and critiques of the news media.

“Or just watch a few episodes of The Daily Show or The Colbert Report.

“The bottom line is that there is more information available to us than ever before. Take advantage of it to make the best decisions you possibly can.”

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