Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage . . . They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Bias in the media

In the past, I've heard lots of complaints (mainly from Christians) about the media being biased. Meaning the ideas they communicate tend to be a bit skewed, reporting information that makes some people or situations look bad. Or just overall improperly balanced.

If you had to categorize me (and I hate being categorized :>), you'd probably end up putting me in the conservative-religious-right category. But I try to keep a healthy open mind whenever it seems appropriate. So usually it didn't seem fair to me to issue a blanket judgment saying that the media were biased. Even whenever a public figure in the conservative-religious-right category was presented in an unflattering light. Journalism is supposed to be objective, right? Perhaps it was just a misunderstanding.

But now that I work at a newspaper, I've just about completely changed my mind about the whole thing.

I'm here to testify first-hand that the media ARE biased -- thoroughly and totally biased!!! Not necessarily because of any agendas, but because of another enemy that gets less attention than it should: the DEADLINE.

I am thoroughly and totally convinced that deadlines can successfully suck any type of objectivity out of journalism. It takes a lot of time and careful, thoughtful planning to convey information objectively! (Just ask anyone who's ever worked as a manager anywhere.) But if you've got deadlines breathing down your neck, the clock is ticking and you've got no choice but to go with your gut reaction most of the time. If you're personally biased about something, I really think it will come out in your work sooner or later.

We're shorthanded at work right now. Part of my job is to write headlines. I've been so busy that I can barely even REMEMBER at the moment what was included in those headlines... And tomorrow those hastily written headlines are going to tell the entire town what is going on in the world. To me, that is a somewhat scary thought. Especially now, when there's SO much going on in the world.

And yet...

Somehow I'm comforted in the fact that it's just a newspaper. I don't intend any disrespect for the publication, but really... After the paper gets read tomorrow, our dog is gonna go on it.

Just a fact of life. :D

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