Friday, September 9, 2011

Who is the media really biased against? Adolf Hitler.

This morning I read this article in The Irish Times by journalist John Waters, who calls it a 'left-liberal newspaper', and then this response which argues that the newspaper is in fact quite right-wing. This is a very common kind of debate, with politically-minded people of all sides utterly convinced that the news media are biased, and never in their favour. Journalists and editors are always presumed to be pulling for the other side.

So who is the media really biased against? Well let's think about Adolf Hitler.
When was the last time I read a pro-Hitler article? When have I ever seen a BBC journalist start a sentence with: 'One of the things I loved about Nazism was...'? Never! Ireland and Britain's media are unashamedly anti-Nazi.

That is, media in this case, strongly reflect public opinion. Journalists here don't like Hitler because almost nobody likes Hitler.

This explains some complaints about media bias. People with extreme, minority views are likely to be disappointed by news media if it reflects more mainstream views. I guess that many critics of journalism are indeed people with stronger political opinions than average so if media generally represents the mixed, sometimes contradictory, centrist views of ordinary people, then such critics of left and right will always be irritated. Of course maybe media really does not represent the views of ordinary people, but I will discuss this another day.

*Image from Wikipedia

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