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Anybody ever heard of an unbiased media?

By Jessie ·
This is just my rant for the day...

IS there such a beast as a totally unbiased media source? I live in the good ole U S of A and though I do love my country and the people in it (for the most part) I'd like to know if there is really such a thing as a completely unbiased media source. I suspect that reporting from outside the country may be less biased than whatever comes from the purchased mouthpieces inside the country, as outsiders usually have less stake in what's going on INSIDE the country.

I just want to get the WHOLE story for once, instead of getting just enough from the left or the right to support whatever point their side is trying to make.

Actually, I've found that Comedy Central's Daily Show with John Stewart seems to be somewhat less biased than other media sources, mainly because they're a comedy show, not "real" news, and they're not afraid to **** off either side in the political arena. Even NPR seems to have their own agenda to peddle.

I've completely given up on reading a newspaper, or G_d forbid watching the local news, or what passes for news around here, as TV news seems to be more into pushing their own agenda, than reporting the true happenings.

Any thoughts? Any sources?

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IMHO....

by NotSoChiGuy In reply to Anybody ever heard of an ...

There are two problems:

1). For the most part, news agencies are in the business of selling advertising; and not reporting the news. This means that their best interests and the public's best interests aren't necessarily aligned.

2). Most of what is covered in modern newscasts is subjective, and not imperical (****, even the weather...same day is 'Partly Cloudy' on CBS and 'Partly Sunny' on ABC). This means that imperative #1 takes precedence: generate ad revenue!

When I watch the news, I pay attention to the commercials: If I see Buick, Depends, Smith-Barney, it is probably a conservative-slanted newscast, and Bush walks on water. If I see Pontiac, Tampax, Girls gone Wild, it is probably liberal, and Bush is inching his way towards the 7th level of Dante's inferno.

Like I said...most of it is subjective, so you're going to have to take out whatever info they give you, and piece together your own 'truth'.

In terms of external news outlets, I prefer (as a traditional male) Galavision. I'm not always sure what they're talking about, but the hosts have 'good geometry' going! :)

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Nope!

by Jellimonsta In reply to Anybody ever heard of an ...

In a word, 'No'. I am doubtful there are such things as unbiased media sources. Most stations have their political slant, and external sources (though not having as much at stake) seem to take an opportunity to bash the US.
I personally use yahoo and google to catch up on the news. That way I get a lot of sources.

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I've always had a soft spot for the BBC

by neilb@uk In reply to Anybody ever heard of an ...

They are legally required to be balanced. They probably don't completely fit the bill for you because the first B, obviously, is "British".

The website www.bbc.co.uk is pretty well regarded in the UK and it's always worth a look for a reasonably unbiased (if alien) perspective on World news - and a laugh at us over here.

You don't HAVE to read about "Helen Abbott, 46, from Stalybridge, Greater Manchester, was taken to court because her garden is messy."

You can even get the US weather!

Neil

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They are legally required to be balanced?

by maxwell edison In reply to I've always had a soft sp ...

.
That's interesting. Who's the monitor and makes that determination? How do they achieve that "balance"? If they write a scathing story about President Bush, for example, do they have to also write a flattering one of the same length and page position? Just how do they do it?

(Serious question, by the way.)

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Max, (serious answer), I do suspect

by neilb@uk In reply to They are legally required ...

that they don't have to be fair to GWB as he's not British.

Also, I don't believe that the web site HAS to be balanced but I suspect they wouldn't stray too far from what is considered reasonable over here else we would complain theat "it's not the BBC".

The TV and radio, however, does have to be pretty much balanced in that if they push one mainstream political view then they HAVE to give pretty close to equal time to the opposition view. That really gets strict towards election time when political parties are allotted time according to the electorate size - you can't buy TV time on any channel.

My one caveat is it's OUR balance and not yours, though.

Despite this "balance" they are always criticised by the government of the day and the fact that this is so and yet no government has attempted to radically change the BBC probably suggests that they've got it about right.

It doesn't always work, however, and resulted in the BBC downplaying the anti-Iraq protests because both main parties in Westminster supported the war.

The difference between our Public Service Broadcasting and yours is that the BBC is a mainstream news and entertainment channel watched by many millions and fully funded by the "licence" that has to be paid yearly for every TV set(Tax, really!). The budget for TV and radio is around $10billion pa which also includes the website and world wide broadcasts.

I'll try and find out some more about this and get back to you if you want more as it's past my bedtime.

Have a browse - I'd be interested in what you think.

Neil

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I understand the Director GEneral of the BBC

by Fonken Monken UK In reply to Max, (serious answer), I ...

has stated that the website should be as much value for money as the channels that we pay for, and as such it is a fantastic resource, for more than just news.

When over in the states last (during the election actually) I gave the bbc.co.uk link to a few colleagues -they were shocked at the content, how unbiased it was, and straight to the facts.
I think its great anyway - the In Pictures section is worth 1 month of license fee alone!

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BBC versus NPR

by TheChas In reply to They are legally required ...

Max,

I end up hearing most of the daily BBC newshour on weekdays.

On a US political scale, I would rate the BBC at least 10 degrees to the left of NPR.
Perhaps 20 degrees left when the story makes GWB look bad.

On stories that pertain to global warming and the environment, BBC news is to the left of any US news source.

Then again, as we have discussed before, Europe in general is far left of the US.
I suspect that in Europe, NPR news would be considered nearly as far to the right as Fox News is in the US.

Chas

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Fox news is mad

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to BBC versus NPR

You'd be in court and bust inside of a day if you tried that in the UK.
The BBCs, particularly the world service is justly regarded as fair in the main, they have however fallen extremely badly on occasion in ways that would make Foxx look as innocuous as Sesame Street.
Perhaps it's just the contrast, but as they are a non-profit organisation who do not depend directly on advertising, the only thing that stops them being considered a government funded mouthpiece such as pravda used to be is their reputation for fairness.

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NPR is WAY left

by jdclyde In reply to BBC versus NPR

This is run by manily professors that are all hard-core democrats, and have no concern showing the "right" side of a discussion in a favorable light.

Look at who runs this, and their agenda.

If it wasn't so far left, it wouldn't have the primary liberal following that it has. Of course they don't cater to the mainstream, and are not held accountable like other stations as they don't have to be commercially competitive. Instead of freeing them to be able to show every view it is used as a license to thrill to push their agenda.

While I don't care if they have an agenda and push it hard, the fact that a lot of their funding comes from FEDERAL funding does bother me. If it was all private funds, say what you want and anyone who doesn't like it can change the channel. But once you get money from the government there should be some equality standards they are held to. Unfortunatly, that isn't the case.

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NPR Funding

by TheChas In reply to NPR is WAY left

I took a look at the 2003 annual report for NPR.

While Federal funding was not broken down as a line item, they do state that less then 2% of NPR's revenues come from Federally funded sources.

The sources include:
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting,
The National Academy of Arts, and
The National Science Foundation.

Funds from the Art and Science foundations likely cannot be used for general news reporting.

Still, the "large" amount of US tax dollars distributed to NPR is less than $2.5 Million.

As to political view, what do you use as a reference for the political center?

I will concede that NPR has few if any right leaning commentators.

However, the factual news coverage is reasonably balanced. I have not seen any other news source spend as much time on presenting details from multiple points of view.

I did not find stories about the good deeds of US troops in my local paper, CNN, or the major network news.
I did hear numerous stories of how the US presence has been making life better for the people of Iraq on NPR.

For a comparison, look into the FULL details of nearly every story that Rush Limbaugh reports. You will find significant details left out of Rush's version of the story.

I can deal with the bias of commentators. I cannot accept so called news coverage that leaves out facts that are not convenient for the reporters point of view.

Chas

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