Tuesday, May 17, 2005

NPR: Less news, more music?

Good grief. Of course NPR is left leaning, but they still do a good job of reporting news. Unfortunately, they often "balance" their stories by bringing in people who are on the fringe. But I'd have to say it's provide some of the best and most balanced reporting on the middle east that I can remember. And I'd rather have a degree of honest bias rather than politically imposed non-bias. And in any case, "solving" the problem by replacing news with music is just ridiculous.
NYT Story

1 Comments:

Blogger Justin said...

As a member of my local NPR station (well, my local Idaho station, despite my current locale), I have to admit that there is a relatively strong liberal bias in the news they report. Personally, though, that's one of the things I like about the reporting. I would much rather hear from biased (but intellectually honest) reporters what their take on a particular topic is than to here some watered-down soupy gruel calculated to displease no one by omitting all the relevent background.

This does point out the danger in having media explicitly funded by the government-- the folks that pay the bills will always want to have a say in how the programs are structured and what sort of reporting takes place. Is it at all unexpected that when the government funds a media organization the government gets upset when the media organization constantly opposes the governemtn? Is it any wonder that the government wants to use that power of the purse to influence how NPR is run? If NPR carried Rush Limbaugh or Bill O'Reily, does anyone suspect that a democratic president and congress would make similar inquiries?

This also points out a fundamental way with the way journalistic ethics are formulated. Rather than accepting that every human being is necessarily opinionated and therefore biased and charging journalists to seek out well-reasoned opinions that oppose your beliefs, they start with the premise that reporters can and should be completely unbiased and should be reporting only the objective facts of a situation. This approach has a myriad of problems. It fails to recognize the degree to which objective facts can be presented and omitted to cause the reader to form a particular conclusion. It fails to recognize at a basic level the futility of opposing human nature. It causes reporters to seek out nutjobs on the fringe that hold opposite views rather than well reasoned and well spoken opponents with smaller scale disagreements. It also causes reporters to omit the most useful sort of context from a report, particularly on political issues where both parties are generally quoting statistics horribly out of context.

5/17/2005 01:35:00 PM  

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