This will be published this week in the Farmerville Gazette, Farmerville Louisiana USA.
When a person lives overseas there is an opportunity to be introduced to different views and thus a more metropolitan look at the world is provided to the American expatriate. I recall one conversation in the early 1980s with my Sr Project Manager in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. He was extoling the quality of news coverage provided by the BBC, the British Broadcasting Company. His explanation was that the BBC read the news while American news agencies had to put a spin on what was being presented. I didn’t fully understand what he was saying as I had completely believed what news agencies were reporting. It finally became clearer over time that his assessment of media bias was correct and it is now apparent that it is becoming even more prolific. Desert Storm provided a small respite from slant on the war coverage that was being broadcast from Saudi Arabia but much of this was due to controls put on reporters by the military. The only thing that could be reported from the field was simply the facts. This has echoed in the more current theaters of operations but then we run the risk of censorship by the military.
In the past we had either pure news reporting or we had commentaries. The reporters would present the news as it happened and kept to the facts and details of the news item. Commentary was presented separately and these provided a news agency the opportunity to provide insight into some issue or expand on a news story. Bias would be allowed but it was not identified as news. Occasionally a media organization would provide support to a political candidate and would state why they support a candidate but this would be done in a commentary that did not confuse news with a biased observation. Today all this has changed.
We that live in Union Parish and North Central Louisiana are fortunate as the news we receive from our local papers reflect what is happening in the area. Local biases are not part of the news stories presented. Commentary is left to non-news stories such as what you are currently reading. The national television news has unfortunately merged fact with commentary and we have difficulty separating the two.
Every morning I listen to a popular television news program that provides the news but then gives personal insight into what they had just read. While much of the comment is entertaining I do occasionally shudder when I hear comments from a hosts and think to myself that this totally incorrect. This is especially true when comments are made about rural America and it is obvious that that the person making the remark has never lived outside the confines of the steel-and-concrete city life. Yet these comments are made by a noted anchor and it becomes fact as stated on a news program.
One problem existing today is that news agencies survive on ratings and ratings are based on viewer participation. In order to acquire new listeners and keep the existing viewers, the networks must sensationalize their news coverage. Unfortunately this has a tendency to slant the stories and change the content of the facts.
Another problem existing today is that many news outlets have pre-disposed political biases. Owners and managers of major networks could insert their own political agendas. Laws do not exist to limit this and laws do not need to be adopted to control this. Our constitution allows freedom of speech and we do not need to impede this. What we do need to do is to be well educated and understand when a media report is not fully factual or is slanted to promote a specific persons point of view.
Following the Civil War my great grandfather left Kentucky and moved to Marksville to start the first newspaper in Avoyles parish. I wonder what his take would be on the current day media and how the news is presented.

  1. seth says:

    I think so. I think your report will give the individuals a good reminding. And they will communicate thanks to you later

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