TheVoicesOfAmerica.org

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News & Media

Where Americans Get Their News

Of the 55% of Americans who obtain their news from TV, evening network newscasts from ABC, CBS, and NBC dominate with a four-to-one advantage over the highest rated shows on the three cable news channels (CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC). Online news sources have surpassed radio and newspapers, with respective audiences of 39%, 33%, and 29%. For American adults under thirty, social media has far surpassed newspapers and equals TV as a primary source of daily news.

Historical Role of a Free Press

The importance of a free and objective press has always been recognized to be an important foundation of Democracy. An unfettered and free press is the best guarantee for a free society. This right is protected by our First Amendment, which states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart in 1974 stated that the primary purpose of the First Amendment was “to create a fourth institution outside the government as an additional check on the three official branches”.

The Founding Fathers recognized that it is a fundamental right of citizens to be informed about all sides of an issue without government interference. A self-governing society relies on truthful information and an open exchange of views in order to make decisions. To that point, Abraham Lincoln stated: “Let the people know the facts, and the country will be safe.” Consequently, it is imperative that journalists pursue fair renditions of the truth, without political bias and regard to the popular mood. Additionally, the press should be able to collect and report news without fear or favor from the government or its officials. Thomas Jefferson felt so strong about the importance of a free press that he stated: “If it were left to me to decide whether we should have a government without a free press or a free press without a government, I would prefer the latter.”

Current Issue of Biased Reporting

Much of the public narrative in society is driven by news reporting, which has become ever more biased with an unmistakable progressive agenda. Many news sources appear to be guided by common talking-points when reporting the news, as evidenced by use of identical keywords. Facts appear to no longer be held in the same journalistic high esteem, as evidenced by much incorrect and biased reporting during rapidly developing events. In September, 2012, Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center, stated: "In the quarter century since the Media Research Center was established to document liberal media bias, there has never been a more brazen and complete attempt by the liberal so-called 'news' media to decide the outcome of an election.”

The Media Research Center reports the following methods used by reporters to bias their reporting:

  • Bias by Commission: A pattern of passing along assumptions or errors that tend to support a left-wing or liberal view.
  • Bias by Omission: Ignoring facts that tend to disprove liberal or left-wing claims, or that support conservative beliefs.
  • Bias by Story Selection:  A pattern of highlighting news stories that coincide with the agenda of the Left while ignoring stories that coincide with the agenda of the Right.
  • Bias by Placement: A pattern of placing news stories so as to downplay information supportive of conservative views.
  • Bias by the Selection of Sources: Including more sources in a story who support one view over another. This bias can also be seen when a reporter uses such phrases as "experts believe," "observers say," or "most people think."
  • Bias by Spin: Emphasizing aspects of a policy favorable to liberals without noting aspects favorable to conservatives; putting out the liberal interpretation of what an event means while giving little or no time or space to explaining the conservative interpretation.
  • Bias by Labeling: Attaching a label to conservatives but not to liberals; using more extreme labeling for conservatives than for liberals; identifying a liberal person or group as an "expert" or as independent.

The progressive bias of TV’s evening network news is complimented by the fact that many more American adults get their news online or through social media, both of which are much populated by progressive points-of-view.

Citizens’ Corrective Actions

To counter the overwhelming progressive bias in news reporting, those interested in objective reporting must engage the news sources and participate in the online discussions and social media. We must correct the mainstream news’ progressive agenda and public narrative to assure all citizens are privy to the truth. We must challenge the mainstream talking-points with effective and accurate information. We must promote conservative principles with logic and truth.

In addition to engaging in the news-conversations to counter progressive bias, citizens have further recourse by contacting news organization “ombudsmen”, who are in-house critics employed to hear public complaints. Yet another recourse, to biased reporting, is to create citizens’ councils which review public complaints about the press and issue verdicts. They do not carry the force of law, but tend to be covered widely, especially now with the internet.

All of the above, of course, requires that we access news sources other than the ones we normally view, read, or listen to. It is human nature to surround ourselves with self-reinforcing people or news. We must pursue the above suggested corrective actions, knowing Americans hunger for truth! For if we are not able to assure that news media provides objective reporting as a public service, true democracy will not survive according to our Founding Fathers.

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