Motown Bronco Wrote:"Political bias" in the media doesn't necessarily mean counting the number of times a newspaper says good things about Republicans vs. the number of times it says good things about Democrats. It usually goes much deeper, and more 'under the surface', than that. One could also say that media simply goes for what will "shock" the most, regardless of political affiliation, and that the readership and the media disseminating the information will feed off each other.
For one example, racial topics are grossly biased in media.
Jesse Jackson once called New York City "Hymie Town", a slur referencing the city's large Jewish population. It was only mildly reported in various media, but basically it was a non-story hardly worth reporting. I would imagine you could go to your local supermarket and conduct a poll, asking random customers if they ever heard of this story, and most would say no.
Now, what if Bill O'Reilly called Detroit or Atlanta "N-word Town"? This would be front-page news, and Bill would never work in the industry again, not to mention fear leaving his own home for months.
Also consider the following quote by African-American New York City Councilman Charles Barren at a slavery reparations rally:
Quote:"I want to go up to the closest white person and say, 'You can't understand this, it's a black thing,' and then slap him, just for my mental health," Barron told a crowd of demonstrators who had gathered in Washington, D.C. to support the cause.
Another quote not covered by mainstream media, but appeared in off-the-beaten-track publications and web blogs. Again, imagine a white elected official commenting on affirmative action, and telling supporters that he'd like to slap the closest black person he saw? The media would have a field day, and this person would become a household name within days.
And what of the racial comments by Serena and Venus Williams' father, calling opponents "white turkeys"?
This is all speculative, of course. But would anyone bet me money in Vegas that the above assumptions would be anything but 100% true? No one would bet me because it is indeed true. The likes of liberal activist Jesse Jackson don't face the music, but guys like baseball pitcher John Rocker do.
Why is that?
I agree with Motown here.
First of all, media bias is "under the surface" and rather subtle. Consider the adjectives or adverbs a newspaper writer will use or even a news channel's anchor. Such words are used, with a writing style found only in journalism, to make the information contained therein more easily consumable by the market, i.e. the readers buying their local paper, or viewers buying their local cable service and the radio listener buying the Blaupunkt system in his automobile.
News is supposed to contain information, but information in many cases is raw data, i.e. how much money is contained in the state education budget. This is very boring, very dry, just raw bones data and would be very unappealing to the readers of say, The Daily Biased Register of Minnetonka, Minnesota, or to WASS' ActionNews at 6 and 10.
To give the information some pizazz, the journalists reporting on the state education budget will say something that will make the viewer or reader interested in the story. An example would be the lead paragraph of a newspaper story claiming,
"State legislators worked into the night looking for a compromise on Governor Hardass's education budget, but found none and ended the special session many of the state's schoolchildren could enter the school-year in August without adequate teachers or funding for a football program."
This lead, and I've seen some recently that are almost exactly like this one, tells a potential reader:
1. It is the gov's proposal when it may not really be the gov.'s proposal. It may be a state senator or legislator's proposal. The gov. is likely just backing the proposal.
2. There was no compromise, when actually anything passed in most state legislatures compromises on a whole wide range of provisions. The lead paragraph says the special session was "ended" and therefore some compromises were reached.
3. The only thing contained in the budget were provisions relating to teachers and football. Actually, there were likely a whole wide range of provisions relating to taxes, insurance, construction, and whatever else may be contained in a bill to lower or raise a state's annual education budget.
After the reader reads the entire article, one may find the writer never returns the bombastic and shocking lead paragraph assertions about football programs. A reader may even find there was a compromise, just not one the reporter wanted to write about. An example would be that construction bids on new schools would be hammered out by a local school district rather than a state agency.
Notice the operative word used in the lead paragraph "could" and this is designed to shock the reader about what the worst case scenario might entail.
In regard to Jesse and Bill making racist statements, I think many news outlets will not report on Jesse making racists statements because the editor, publisher or producer may fear the wrath of the local NAACP, or they may seek out ad clients in a predominantly black market that could dwindle if they report on things about Jesse that may be construed as "negative."
Also, Jesse is a known racist and that is not shocking. People actually expect Jesse to make racists statements when many people believe that pro-black organizations such as the NAACP are racist organizations. Rocker, on the other hand, is a pro baseball player and readers and viewers do not automatically connect racism with the MLB. Many viewers and readers will likely think MLB pitchers have opinions on games, on knuckle-balls and corked bats, not racism. Therefore, just the idea that Rocker may have made racist comments is shocking to the large majority of easily duped readers or viewers.
Bill O'Reilly gets his opinions out via the airwaves nationwide on a daily basis, whereas it may be only once a week for Jesse. It would be a bigger story and more shocking for consumption to have a story that might indicate Bill made racist statements than it would for Jesse to have done so. Had Bill made some definitively racist comments on a show of his, then it would have violated Fox's and his motto of "fair and balanced" and "no-spin" since racist comments are entirely "spin" and are not fair nor balanced.
Also, Bill is so well known and generally well like that for someone to make racist comments and then for a news outlet to report that would be much more shocking, and consequently that outlet may sell more ads down the road because more people tuned in or read about Bill's racist comments than those tuning in to see Jesse go on his expected and usual tyrade.
A potential ad client, first of all, looks to which newspaper or TV network gets the most viewers and then they act accordingly within their advertising budget. A newspaper, for example, may report on things designed to tick their readers off because person A will read it, tell person B and they will likely go buy a paper to read it, or log on to the paper's site (which is marketing). In the process, person B may disagree with the reporter's account of Bill's allegedly racist remarks, but may find something in the paper that he or she does agree with, and consequently tell person C "have you seen this paper?" or even call the up to subscribe or advertise.
Be aware, however, that the amount of readers or viewers buying the product is neither here nor there. A newspaper's subscriptions merely cover printing costs. It is the ads that generate a profit for a newspaper, and pay the newspaper's staff. Ad clients look to see how popular a newspaper is before buying ad space. "Popular" can be either negative or positive, in either case it's a win-win situation for a newspaper.
My very first editor would tell me "you have to piss them off every once in a while to see how many are reading the product."