Many of whom are/were created with the intent of delivering on the highest possible level of partisanship, and often barely bothering with the thin veneer of journalistic aesthetics (looking at you, Breitbart).

I’ve always found it entertaining how many of the charges of bias against the established media sources ultimately break down into one of three different categories:
(1) I don’t like the story they’re reporting on. Gay marriage is a great example. There are legitimate legal issues at stake, and evangelical culture warriors screaming at the media that marriage was somehow created by God are ignoring the fact that we don’t live in a theocracy (as much as they’d wish it so) and therefore somehow failing to report on their narrow, non-legal (and therefore irrelevant) worldview is not bias, but a reflection of the actual stakes of the issue in a civil society government by non-religious laws.
(2) I can’t tell the difference between commentators and journalists and therefore I accuse “journalists” of being opinionated when they are, in fact, commentators who are expected to give their opinions. How often do you see right wing nut jobs accuse Morning Joe of “biased journalism” while ignoring the fact that they aren’t journalists. How many people think Rush Limbaugh is “the news”? What’s funny is that most of those people can tell the difference between a sports talk show (Stephen A Smith) and sports news (SportsCenter).
(3) The news accurately reported what someone else said, but that person was wrong and therefore the news lied to us. Election polling is a great example, but there are plenty of others. When Nick Saban stood up and said “I’m going to be the Alabama coach” and SportsCenter reported it, no one accused SportsCenter of being fake news when Saban left Miami for ‘Bama. When Quinnipiac or Gallup or 538 misses badly on an election poll, everyone likes to yell at the news about being fake, when they accurately reported what someone else had said, and that someone turned out to be wrong. Much of the news reporting around the Russia investigations have functioned the same way. The news reports on the statements that someone makes about the investigation and accurately reflects their words. When those words are an opinion, “the news” is accused of peddling in opinions; if htose words turn out to be wrong, “the news” is accused of being “fake” (which is significantly different than just making shit up, like the “Denver Guardian” or Comet PingPong stories).

There’s about 10 things wrong with this article and about 50 things wrong with the responses, the vast majority of which seem to reflect a complete and total lack of understand of the processes involved in gathering, verifying, organizing, editing, presenting, and distributing news content. People sure do act like they know, without ever having worked in a newsroom, or studied journalism, or been a part of a news ecosystem. It would be like trying to explain how an ER works to a bunch of people who think they know because they know every episode of ER, only they’re pissed that ER didn’t start every episode with a prayer.

The news lost some credibility with some bad editorial decisions, like Dan Rather’s Nat’l Guard memos, or the exploding pickup trucks. Moreover, there’s a large segment of the population that somehow mistakenly believed it was the responsibility of the news media to be cheerleaders for series of military interventions that have suffered endless scope creep, under-resourcing, mismanagement, and a lack of strategic focus.
But a wide swath of idiots fell for a number of satirical news articles (The Duffel Blog story about Linda Lopez was a masterclass in idiots seeking confirmation bias), and a non-trivial percentage of the population hasn’t figured out yet that we don’t like in a white patriarchal theocracy, and outright conspiracist bullshit was given equivalent news coverage to legitimate topics (birtherism, school shooting hoaxers) it was waaaaaaaay too easy for anyone who didn’t like the direction the world was going to just throw up their hands and declare that it was all the fault of the journalists. Nope. Not even close.

Journalists tell the story of the world in which we live, not the world we imagine it to be. They can — and should — pop our bubbles and offer a wider exposure beyond our tunnel-view worlds. And if your sense of self and the value you place on your station in society are so fragile that the news can make that big of impact on you, well… good.

Dad, husband, game commando, veteran, Army brat, writer, teacher

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