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post #11 of 58 (permalink) Old 05-03-2007, 05:48 PM
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post #12 of 58 (permalink) Old 05-03-2007, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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I'd like to know how one determines whether or not a particular source of news is truly, "fair and balanced." In my estimation, the vast majority of western news sources and people think of themselves as scrupulously honest, fair and balanced. They probably think most of their peers try awfully hard. An outsider looks at the news source and filters his assessment through his own belief system. Or perhaps we could take a popular vote, which either the Chinese or Indians will win every time.

My favorite news source, the NY Times, is strongly biased, IMO. But I know people who believe they are scrupulously fair and balanced. There are more than a few people I know who believe that Fox accurately self-describes. Etc.

That's why when folks speak of major media and say this or that one is more or less biased I say, "Diogenes!"

B
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post #13 of 58 (permalink) Old 05-03-2007, 09:45 PM
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Responsible reporters used to first find the facts, then write the story.
The trend now seems to be to first choose a story, then pick the facts that fit the story, and disregard those that don't.
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post #14 of 58 (permalink) Old 05-03-2007, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Botnst
I'd like to know how one determines whether or not a particular source of news is truly, "fair and balanced." In my estimation, the vast majority of western news sources and people think of themselves as scrupulously honest, fair and balanced. They probably think most of their peers try awfully hard. An outsider looks at the news source and filters his assessment through his own belief system. Or perhaps we could take a popular vote, which either the Chinese or Indians will win every time.

My favorite news source, the NY Times, is strongly biased, IMO. But I know people who believe they are scrupulously fair and balanced. There are more than a few people I know who believe that Fox accurately self-describes. Etc.

That's why when folks speak of major media and say this or that one is more or less biased I say, "Diogenes!"

B
I tend to use a pretty basic rule that you don't report a story until you have general facts about the events. If there are not facts, you don't report just to fill time. One of the things that bothers me is the trend to have a story that there is "going to be a story". That indicates more of an interest in the profit side than the news side.

In high school I worked at the local radio station. We got news from AP and UPI off the teletype. We were required to read both wires and then actually write our 5 or 15 minute newscasts based on the two separate reports. No "rip and read" was allowed. We were told that we had to do that to make sure we got the whole story out. Did it work, I think so, based on experience and what I remember from the big stories and history.

On local stories, such as mine strikes or accidents we had to have each story provide both company and worker sides of the story since the community was populated with those from both sides of that volatile subject.

News can be far and balanced BUT, not when it has to fill 24/7 on the broadcast side. There are too many hours to fill and too much time for editorial process to massage the story.

On the print side, I grew up reading the various news magazines that were known to be either left or right and was lucky enough that I was allowed to have both [along with Car and Driver and Motorsport out of England]. They were known to have a slant and that was part of the deal, much like listening to Johnson or Goldwater, Kennedy or Nixon. It helped me become a critical thinker.

On newspapers, depending on what part of the paper you read, most have a slant. NYT, which I still subscribe to the paper version, has very good hard news BUT their editorials are certainly left of center. You have to give them credit, however for allowing opposing view each and every day so you do have both sides printed. Same with the Washington Post. It is a good paper but has a left of center slant which works well with its Times counterpart. Here in Lexington we had, for decades two papers that worked out of the same building, one morning, one afternoon and one was liberal, the other conservative. They shared the same newsroom. Fair and Balanced?

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post #15 of 58 (permalink) Old 05-04-2007, 05:20 AM Thread Starter
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Responsible reporters used to first find the facts, then write the story.
The trend now seems to be to first choose a story, then pick the facts that fit the story, and disregard those that don't.
YES!

That's what I remember as a kid from the BBC, when I listen to shortwave late at night. Facts. Leave the editorializing to the editor's page.

Even though NY Times is steadily slithering down that lurid path of editorializing in straight news, they still do the best straight news reporting in the USA and BBC is still the best on the planet.

It just pisses me off that they could do so much better for society with so little effort.

B

Last edited by Botnst; 05-04-2007 at 05:22 AM.
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post #16 of 58 (permalink) Old 05-04-2007, 05:59 AM
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Quite a while ago I met the first full-time television network science editor in the US, ABC News Science Editor Jules Bergman. He was a pilot and owned a number of light aircraft that were on lease-back at Teterboro airport in New Jersey. He was a nice, knowledgeable guy that knew his stuff. He reported the crash of a Cessna C-150 and a Boeing 727 out around San Diego many years ago. It was quite a tragedy, and many lives were lost through incompetence and miscommunications.
Bottom line: When Bergman reported the accident he stated that "The STEEL propeller of the Cessna sliced through the belly of the 727 like a hot knife through butter." That statement hit me like a hammer coming from a fellow pilot……..
Two things were wrong right from the start:
( 1 ) There hasn't been a steel propeller on a light plane since the mid nineteen twenties. They can't afford the weight, and as a pilot he knew that.
( 2 ) The implication was that the C-150 attacked the 727 from underneath. The facts are the cruising speed of a 150 is close to the stall speed of a 727, so it has to be fairly obvious that the 727 overran the C-150 because he never saw it.
Air Traffic control screwed up and they tried, and in fact did, blame the light plane pilots. Just to get a story out of it. I learned from then on that you have to get multiple sources and develop the story yourself, or get a very slanted view from prejudiced people, with an agenda.

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post #17 of 58 (permalink) Old 05-04-2007, 08:04 AM
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It's interesting to read the take of you folks outside the UK on the left-wing biassed performance of the BBC. Here we know about this from the way that we see them address many internal issues. The bias is often quite subtle - but it is there nevertheless. Moreoften not by what is said - but what is not said.

How do you think many of us feel about this when we are actually funding this organisation through our taxes? The BBC World Service on radio is financed largely by the UK Treasury, and the various BBC TV channels for home & satellite transmission are paid for via an annual 'licence' which is compulsory. Failure to purchase this licence (for an eqivalent of about US 270 dollars) can end up with a custodial sentence.

A UK example of what we have to put up with at the BBC. Very soon the BBC is broadcasting a program which effectively 'forgives' the IRA killers who were let out of jail under the terms of the 'peace settlement'. They even invited a politician (Norman Tebbitt - whose wife is still confined to a wheelchair following the IRA bombing of a Brighton Hotel) to appear on the program together with the perpertrators. To his undoubted credit, he has refused to appear with such trash.
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post #18 of 58 (permalink) Old 05-04-2007, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by keyhole
It's interesting to read the take of you folks outside the UK on the left-wing biassed performance of the BBC. Here we know about this from the way that we see them address many internal issues. The bias is often quite subtle - but it is there nevertheless. Moreoften not by what is said - but what is not said.

How do you think many of us feel about this when we are actually funding this organisation through our taxes? The BBC World Service on radio is financed largely by the UK Treasury, and the various BBC TV channels for home & satellite transmission are paid for via an annual 'licence' which is compulsory. Failure to purchase this licence (for an eqivalent of about US 270 dollars) can end up with a custodial sentence.

A UK example of what we have to put up with at the BBC. Very soon the BBC is broadcasting a program which effectively 'forgives' the IRA killers who were let out of jail under the terms of the 'peace settlement'. They even invited a politician (Norman Tebbitt - whose wife is still confined to a wheelchair following the IRA bombing of a Brighton Hotel) to appear on the program together with the perpertrators. To his undoubted credit, he has refused to appear with such trash.
Actually, we know exactly how you feel because we have the same, untenable, situation here in the colonies w/ our PBS (Public Broadcasting System), which is underwritten by the US government (aka taxpayers). I call it Political Bull Shit!

Don't believe everything you think
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post #19 of 58 (permalink) Old 05-04-2007, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Jayhawk
Actually, we know exactly how you feel because we have the same, untenable, situation here in the colonies w/ our PBS (Public Broadcasting System), which is underwritten by the US government (aka taxpayers). I call it Political Bull Shit!
I hereby demand you stop calling yourself either a Conservative or a Republican, you fucking moron.
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post #20 of 58 (permalink) Old 05-04-2007, 09:04 AM
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Actually, we know exactly how you feel because we have the same, untenable, situation here in the colonies w/ our PBS (Public Broadcasting System), which is underwritten by the US government (aka taxpayers). I call it Political Bull Shit!
And Faux News isn't just as bad in the other direction? Worse if you ask me.
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