7.20.2010

"This is what I teach students here: Keep your biases to yourself"

That's "former CNN and ABC News correspondent Charles Bierbauer," talking to NPR. He continues:
I don't want to know what they are when I go to the news. If I want opinions, I go to the editorial page, or I turn on one of the political food fights. But [there] I know what I'm getting.
It's an interesting shift, and I'm not entirely sold that the media believes it. But it reflects an interesting trend.

As the blogosphere boomed, ideology became something to wear on your sleeve. Bloggers traded on only one side of a story, of course, but with the immediate availability of a tremendous range of opinion, it made the pundits appear more honest -- sure you were getting the news with a slant, but at least you knew it, unlike those tricky MSM sources who pretended to neutrality but put their slant behind the scenes instead. That was, to a certain extent, the idea behind the Mendota Beacon -- we'll give you the news, and be honest about where we're coming from. No BS.

And the media caught a whiff of that. And given how badly hard news was contracting, it made sense to go the same route. Obviously Fox and MSNBC have succeeded in that route. But it doesn't entirely appear to have made things more honest.

So now we're back to just the facts, ma'am. The trouble is reflected in the quote above though -- the lesson learned has been, "hide your bias," not "set your bias aside when reporting." And so we get cases like Dave Weigel, who thought he'd successfully hidden his bias -- only to be revealed. And so the cycle goes.