In a recent visit to Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas, Washington Post political editor David Broder told students that he believes there is no such thing as media bias. He claims that too many confuse talk radio with journalism and imagines the bias is predicated on that basis.
Speaking also to WOAI radio, Broder said, "I have spent almost fifty years of my life covering campaigns with other people. I don't think there is a serious problem with ideological or political bias."
According to WOAI, Broder claimed not to see any bias in reporters of his generation nor in younger journalists. "I don't find a problem with bias among my younger colleagues at all," Broder said. "That's not a concern of mine."
So, what is the problem with the pervasive feeling from so many that there is media bias? Blame it on talk radio.
Broder says the allegations of media bias frequently stem from the proliferation of politically charged radio talk shows and television analysis programs, which viewers and listeners 'mistake' for journalism.
"I think their reputation kind of washes over our reputations," he said. "The folks who are sounding off about politics on all of the talk shows and the 24 hour news channels and so on. I would not make the argument that those people are free of bias. They are in fact paid to be opinionated."
Sadly, Broder is entirely mistaken, here. I wonder if he's ever read the Associated Press and seen the pervasive liberal bias in so much of its past work, not to mention the AP's new policy of purposefully inserting more opinion in its work?
I would suggest, though, a reason that Broder is blind to this bias. First of all he works for a liberal paper and doesn't want to bite the hand that feeds him. But, more importantly, he is of the Old Media and that is his bias. Perhaps he looks down on TV, radio and the New Media because of his predilections and loyalties. In some it might even be considered elitism, though I hesitate to ascribe elitism to Broder.
This inability to see liberal bias is quite a blind spot for Mr. Broder, I must say.
(Photo Credit: Washington Post)