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People will bitch about commercial news media like CNN, or Time Magazine (same company) or just about any kind of commercial news channel, magazine or any other form of media. They will say they are too biased, and are sensationalist, showing only what they want to show, things that will shock the viewer. An example would be the cheering Muslims in Palestinian streets after the WTC attack. But what about the majority of the population which was simply horrified, if not because of the sheer brutality of the attack, but because they knew the American hammer would be hitting them very hard, very soon?

But what about independent media? Places like www.indymedia.org, or other independent news outlets? They are just as much at fault being biased than the huge news corporations are. Indy news is the other extreme end, the left end. They will happily bash corporations, or the government, or the police. THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.

News should be neutral

I wish for a news outlet that will show several aspects of any given occurrence, WITHOUT any personal comment. No "The police brutality shown last so-and-so was further proof that the police department..." or "Environmental extremists endangered so-and-so many lives with their irresponsible tactics...". Let me develope my OWN opinion on the subject. Don't shove yours down my throat. Instead of being leftish or rightish, why can't we all be centrish?

What I'm trying to say is that independent media is just as biased as commercial...just the other end of the spectrum.


mr100percent says "speaking of which, I heard a while back that the BBC retracted their "palestinians dancing" story because they only found 3 or four people, instead of "the entire street""

Not to be too Foucaultian here, but it is an impossible goal for news to be 'neutral.' Sure there are facts to be reported, but if you want reporting to get fancier than a simple chart or graph listing data, the bias or perspective of the individual and organization involved is going to leave its mark. It's going to 'spin' the facts. Chalk it up to the intricacy and expressiveness of human language, but the words you choose and the way you communicate them say a lot. The mock 'unbiased' headlines you choose exhibit this perfectly. Moving beyond the simple content of the copy, if you want to get into radio and TV reporting, add the subtle and not-so-subtle ideas and emotions that are communicated by tone of voice, or the lighting and editing involved, not to mention montages and sound effects, and you have pretty much entered the realm of pure editorializing, whether you wanted to or not.

Reporting cannot be perfectly neutral. The problem, however, is that the corporate media, because they control nearly every distribution channel, has the pretense of objectivity, while at the same time their reporting is constantly skewed by their bias.

Contrast this with Indymedia, which at the top of the web page has the explanation:
"Indymedia is a collective of independent media organizations and hundreds of journalists offering grassroots, non-corporate coverage. Indymedia is a democratic media outlet for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of truth."

Unlike the corporate media, they are not covert about their perspective. The tag line includes the words 'radical' and 'non-corporate' for crying out loud! Can you imagine every NBC news broadcast starting with the disclaimer

"NBC is a subsidiary of General Electric, a multi-billion dollar multinational corporation with a significant interest in the content of reporting, and furthermore this news broadcast is brought to you by corporate sponsors that we cannot perturb."

or how about FOX news revealing

"The FOX network is owned by Rupert Murdoch, a billionaire with notoriously conservative viewpoints."

Can you imagine that? This would be the equivalent to what Indymedia is saying.

But furthermore, not only is the corporate media assumed to be neutral while they are in fact not, they are actually actively distortive and dishonest. Thus you can have FOX news displaying their motto "We report, you decide" as though they were journalistic guardians of democracy, while they run story after story about how Al Gore is a liar, then feature a debate show with a virulently right wing pundit with a loud microphone and favorable lighting up against a centrist pundit with a broken microphone and unfavorable lighting. The same goes for CNN. I have seen their dishonesty first hand1. Over at ABC, John Stossel continues to get his own hour-long specials despite his own acknowledgement that he has fabricated facts. As far as I know, Indymedia has never faked an interview or intentionally misreported a fact.

So no, news cannot be neutral… and the fact is that the corporate media, which is actually not just naturally biased but often dishonest, is assumed to be objective. See the problem?


1 see my wu in World Economic Forum for how I saw CNN distort.

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