It seems strange that we automatically assume that the news is reported free of bias. We tend to think of the “news” as being equivalent with the “truth.” Of course it makes sense we would see it this way since we think of news as events that take place. What could be more cut and dried? It either happened or it didn’t: truth or untruth. The problem of course appears when we attempt to describe the news.
Image via Wikipedia
Think of the reporting of news as the blind men describing an elephant. One feels the tail and assumes the elephant is a rope. Another feels the leg and says the elephant is a pillar – and so it goes as each describes a part of the elephant. When a news event takes place people can’t help but gravitate to a certain part of the story
When a politician speaks it is easy for the person reporting on the story to see the event from his perspective. It’s actually normal human behavior to do this. If the reporter favors the politician he will focus on those aspects of the (elephant) politician that are positive. Another reporter may believe the politician to be untrustworthy. In this case his interpretation will focus on the negative feature of the elephant/politician.
The problem isn’t that one network, newspaper, or blog is biased. The problem is assuming that any of them are unbiased. The only way to approach the truth when it comes to the news is to review reports written by those with opposing points-of-view and attempt to reconstruct the elephant as accurately as possible given the various different perspectives.