Sunday, April 15, 2007

Media bias

This is a powerful take on the need to stay informed and the deficit of understanding shaped by news. News doesn't conspire to take on liberal or conservative biases, that's left to the editorial board. But there is a lot of opinion portrayed as news (Hannity and Colmes, Crossfire, Scarborough country, etc.) and practical journalistic considerations that taint the shot of reality portrayed by journalists.

News is event driven, not thought driven. Journalists have to produce the answers immediately and interestingly. So, an obvious mishap is to focus on the sensational, trivial rather than the mundane and important.

We have problems staying informed in this country. Evidence: when Rumsfeld resigned last November, Iraqis cheered as some U.S. military grunts pondered: "Who's Rumsfeld?"

After all, "There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say there are things that we now know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know."

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