Media bias, take #742…

Robert Parry claims the liberal news media is a myth. That’s true, if by “myth” he means a story of cultural importance. If he means “untrue,” then he is mistaken about media bias and the proper definition of “myth.”

The press is often thought of as a unified voice with a distinct bias (right or left depending on the critic). This simplistic thinking fits the needs of ideological struggle, but is hardly useful in coming to a better understanding of what is happening in the world.

Parry’s account proves how blind partisans can be. He criticizes conservative media critics for a fallacy that he then commits to prove his own point. Conservatives often claim, simplistically, that because lots of reporters vote for Democrats, this means they have a liberal bias that affects their reporting. Yep, that’s a faulty causal generalization. Parry then claims that liberal bias is a “myth” because a lot of decision makers at news organizations vote for Republicans. Same fallacy.

The structural biases of journalism provide a route to a better understanding of what journalism is about and what function it serves, or fails to serve, in our society. It’s easy to come up with surveys and anecdotes and then decry the ideological shift these weak instruments of research pretend to identify. It’s not so easy to take a hard look at the structure of journalism, the structure of various media, and the product those structures produce, and then question the very foundations of the news media.

Here’s just such a question: Should TV cover government? Hmmmmm…