Bias

Sam Watson
AP Government Summer Assignment
???Plunging Into Politics???
8/15/09

Goldberg, Bernard. BIAS. Washington, D.C. Regnery Publishing Company. 2002.

Bernard Goldberg??™s book offers us a view of the media that is not often publicized. The news that is reported to us by CBS, NBC, FOX, as well as the press (Wall Street Journal, New York Times, etc.) is filled with bias that affects the way the facts are delivered. Goldberg??™s book outlines this with the event that took him off of the air as a long time CBS journalist at CBS headquarters in NY, and supports his argument with examples of similar situations in the media.
Goldberg was a long time critic of liberal bias in the news. Working at CBS, a very liberal news group, he felt it??™s presence in the field, at the headquarters; everywhere involved in putting the stories out on the evening broadcast or other programs. When he approached Andrew Heyward, President of CBS news at the time, he was brushed off. Repeatedly he asked to cover stories and proposed programs that he thought would counter other stories that had recently run, that would provide another opinion on the matter. He was told it was ???controversial??? and dismissed. Goldberg bluntly told Heyward that he knew the media was biased, Heyward knew it, and America knew it. Heywards response was, ???I know it is, everyone knows it. But if you tell anyone, I??™ll deny it???.
Goldberg says that the problem with media bias is that it cannot be removed by simply pointing it out to the press. What I took from his book is that; this is because they do not see it. The media has become a tool for politics. People will stand by their political views, as they should. They have the freedom to say what they want and express their beliefs. But the conflict arises when these beliefs and the facts delivered on the news clash. The way a story is told, the critics brought in to analyze it, and censoring of stories can turn facts into entertainment or propaganda.
Issues in America become center-points of political campaigns. And the media has a history of raising issues during different campaigns to sway the views of politicians and parties. One example that Goldberg offered was the problem of the Homeless in America. During the 1980??™s, homelessness was a large problem in America, and the current president was George H.W. Bush. The media ran stories weekly on how little aid was being given to help, how low-income housing was not being built, and all the while portraying the homeless of America as middle class white families. This portrayal is misleading at best. In truth, well over 50% of homeless are drug abusers or multiple ex-convicts. But by getting American people to relate to the issue, the media can swing their support to it. This is where the media becomes a dangerous tool of politics. During Bush Sr.??™s presidency, stories on homelessness in America were a weekly occurrence. However, when Clinton was inaugurated, the media sharply dropped it??™s interest in the issue. Data from their stories show that significantly less stories were run during Clintons administration than there were in Bush??™s. And when George W. Bush was not even sworn in, but still campaigning, the issue again spiked occurrence in the press. It??™s presence helped to draw explanations from the parties and candidates on that specific issue. It is know that in conservative viewpoints, spending money and creating organizations is not the preferred way to solve such problems, and that was the primary topic of the stories run about Homelessness.
Overall, I took a lot away from the book. Its argument is that Liberal bias distorts the news that we get our facts from. I believe that bias is present everywhere, from the more conservative Wall Street Journal to the more liberal New York Times. Bias, regardless of political partisanship, is in all of our news. It is no secret, yet is denied to all ends by many. The news seems to have become more of an entertainment industry than journalism; in the sense that the stations and broadcast stay alive due to good ratings by the viewers, as well as quarterly revenue. The news is too often censored to avoid offending anyone, or to boost ratings and viewer approval, and that just isn??™t RIGHT. That is distortion of the facts, and I view it as dishonest and selfish.
As a conclusion, I agree with the views expressed by the author Bernard Goldberg. He claims himself to be a Liberal, and I have many conservative views, some liberal. Yet we both have seen this as a problem in out new (the reason I chose his book). It tells me that this is not a partisan battle that is happening in the media and the press. It is an issue of personal views influencing important stories that are fed to Americans every day as facts. He makes many unarguable points on the issue, and even though I did not think his hypothetical analysis of the scenarios helped his case ( only attempted to glorify it), I would agree 100% with his argument and his book. The news that we receive from stations such as CBS, ABC, FOX etc are distorted with BIAS.