Saturday, August 22, 2009

Un-balanced views

I read Arrogance some weeks ago, but haven't gotten round to talking about it until now. This book by Bernard Goldberg talks about the liberal bias in the media and how it is constantly overlooked by the big guns because somehow the liberal ideas are never contested where the news is written. Goldberg talks about journalism in the USA, but I think the liberal bias also happens here in the Philippines. WillyJ points this out in this entry, and I think I've already pointed out a few instances in the past.

People will always have their own opinions--let's give it that. And people will always air them. Opinion pages are full of "what I think is right" and that's ok because it is the opinion page. What is wrong is that these opinions seep out of the opinion pages and go into general news masquerading as balanced views. How? By use of subtle language cues (like using the word "conservative" to label the Church and then forgetting to use "liberal" to label pro-RH bill advocates), or in the medium of radio, acting indignant about anything that isn't liberal--how many times have I heard somebody crack "Make love, not babies" on the radio? Or "We're so overpopulated already!" delivered in a complaining voice and without facts to back it up? Lots. And these words are always spewed from the same two mouths. (Supposedly, this AM station is reputable, but I've been wary of it for a long time now.)

It's like they're imposing that the liberal opinion is the balanced view and the conservative is far out extreme right. It gets really sickening when you're stuck in traffic on a Monday morning and that's all you hear about. How grand to start off your week to that! Sometimes it's best to just listen to a CD and assume there's no news for the day.

Then there is the non-coverage of not-so-liberal events like pro-life marches. Ever read about them? Only in blogs, I suppose! You won't see anything in the media, whether print, TV or radio. And no coverage makes it look like there is no action on that side of the opinion spectrum. And no action = no existence.

And why is it that when it's a conservative opinion, it must always come from a priest or bishop? Aren't ordinary people also part of the Church? Get them to talk too! It's unfair to make it look like all ordinary citizens are for reproductive health and only bishops, priests, and nuns, who have a vow to celibacy, are against contraceptives. There are young moms and dads who say no to being not open to life. Isn't it only fair to go ask them why they think so?

As a reader (listener, watcher) of news, I am, like everybody, prey to these tricks. What I think helps is to keep talking to different people about things that come out in the news. (Or perhaps the big guns in media can do us all a favor and also start talking to more different minded people and considering their opinions as valid arguments too?)

Because truly, it's exposure to different ideas (and knowing where they come from and then discussing them with a level head) that make us open-minded, not the attitude of permissiveness of culture corruption because "it's their life, they can do what they want with it." The latter, obviously, is just plain old apathy.


WillyJ said...

Spot on. Somehow it seems fashionable for the media to have a liberal bias don't you think so? The relativistic ethos of our modern society tends to frown upon statements of objective truth because it assumes that growth in intellectual maturity runs with growth in skepticism. Arrgh.

petrufied said...

Arrgh nga! that's like going backwards instead of towards really understanding the truth.