Allan Takes Aim Blog

Media and the truth

Posted on: 7 March 2011


Many journalists have a conflict of interest when it comes to politics no matter how much they deny it. Some do their utmost to avoid being biased by occasionally running with the hare and chasing with the hounds.

However, some journalists manage to avoid being seen as biased because they are clever actors althouhgh this skill is more noticeable in journalists with the electronic media because their body language oozes like or dislike of the person being interviewed.

And though one can’t see the expression on the faces of radio interviewers or other aspects of their body language, their tone of voice can generally give a clue as to their likes and dislikes.

Newspapers, of course are the medium where bias can be most readily observed. Not to excuse myself, and much as I try to avoid bias, occasionally, no doubt, my bias shows.

Not that bias is exclusive to journalists; it is common among people in all professions: police officers, lawyers, judges, priests, teachers, doctors, bus divers, nurses, labourers, academics et al. Name any profession and you’ll find bias.

The fact  remains however, that a journalist often knows that something said by a politician or business person isn’t true yet won’t reveal the untruth when writing their report because they dine and drink with the politicians and or business person concerned.

This raises the question: can our media be trusted to tell the truth? I use journalists as an example in this brief article because newspapers, including online newspapers, are the medium most people consult to find out what is going on.

They do this in the belief that what journalists write are factual reports of views of the interviews they have conducted, something of particular importance if the person being intervieweed is a politician.

Unfortunately that isn’t always what they get. Once upon a time perhaps, that might have been the case, but no longer. Often indeed, it isn’t difficult to draw a conclusion about which particular brand of politics the writer of a particular report supports as  their contributions seem to be in line with the politics of the newspaper’s owner.

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