Monday, August 19, 2013

The Media Bias On On The Media

This NPR story on possible bias in an NPR story sums up my views of mass media bias really well. I remember hearing the story over a year ago, about how the state of South Dakota is "kidnapping" Native American children through their foster children programs in order to collect federal money, and being annoyed. Not that the bias was overt, but just the typical journalistic biases that attributes human intentions to the workings of bureaucracies (in this case attributing evil intentions to republican bureaucracies), and the human need to connect various facts with narrative based reasoning (i.e. needing to fit facts together into a story even if no story exists). These biases are pervasive and thus I was incredulous when Ira Glass and On the Media were trying to argue a couples years ago that NPR was unbiased, but ultimately agreed with their take, that bias exists but it is subtle, based on human psychology, the institutional makeup, mostly unintended and not overt (On the Media's co-host has a nice comic book I just finished reading that summarizes all of this). Anyway, what I do appreciate, is that it is NPR itself that owns up to these biases (at least partially and over a year later), and thus I still tend to trust the system as a whole.

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