CBS Blogger: Stop Whining About Bias, Check Out the Other Side First

CBS Public Eye blogger Matthew Felling has a message for those of us who complain about media bias. Don't expect the media to pursue balance. In fact, it's YOU who should balance your news diet, with slanted reporting from the opposing side of the political spectrum. Insisted Felling, "It’s one thing for an ideologue to cry bias over this story or another, but it’s far more productive to offer a solution or an alternative."

From Felling's September 6 entry "Fairly Balance... Yourself":

If you're a Rush listener, try Ed Schultz. If you like Keith Olbermann’s take, change channels afterwards and see what Sean Hannity has to say. Likewise, if you see something coming down the pipe that looks like the "Censored" list or Goldberg's liberal media smoking gun -- and you initially resist it -- don't dismiss it offhand.

Until we push ourselves out of our media comfort zone, we risk continuing to argue past each other -- us of the by-now-trite 'red' and 'blue' Americas --wearing blinders and not connecting at all. So even if you like your blinders and feel intellectually justified in wearing them, don’t be afraid to swivel your head once in awhile to get a fuller view.

The CBS ombudsblogger --Public Eye purports "to bring transparency to the editorial operations of CBS News"-- offered this advice after he tossed up a liberal and a conservative complaint about media bias, hoping to show that left and right-wing complaints have equal merit and/or that media bias is subjective according to the ideological lens of the beholder.

But what were the examples he cited?

For the liberal example he cited the left-wing San Francisco Bay Guardian's laundry list of stories the media missed in the past year with a largely alarmist, conspiratorial bent to them, featuring headlines like "Good-Bye Habeas Corpus" and "Marital Law: Coming to a Town Near You."

By contrast, Felling's conservative example was National Review's Jonah Goldberg lamenting the media's sensationalism in covering the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

So let's see, we have hydrophobic hysteria about new laws supposed setting up a Bush dictatorship being unreported by the media versus pitted against the observation that the liberal media embraced the most dire of storylines after Katrina partly out of a liberal conviction that everything that can go wrong will go wrong in part due to the Bush administration.

It's hardly a strong comparison if you're attempting to show liberal and conservative complaints are of equal merit, but it'll do if your aim is to dismiss dissatisfied media consumers' complaints of bias and insist the problem lies in the bias of the reader.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters