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I'll explain why and what we should do about it.

By:David K. Every
©Copyright 1999

Is the media biased? - Some PC people (politically correct, or IBM-PC) don't seem to want to believe that the media is biased, or don't understand why the media is biased. However, there is no question that it is biased.

I am not a conspiracy kook, and don't think the press calls each other and agrees to lam blast a company, individual or industry. I also realize that "the press" is a gross generalization - there are good and bad - but there are people that fit into their cultural stereotypes -- and as a group the press does have a culture that they fit into.

The press is not malicious (per say), just a bunch of group-thinkers, who want to get fame and attention (and money) for themselves. Yet the acts they will commit to achieve those ends often can be malicious. When the public seems interested in something - the press sensationalizes the heck out of it to get attention for themselves (as writers) and to make money. Thinking and objectivity are pretty low down on the list of priorities for many of them. So when we are told in the 70's that we are going to run out of oil in 10 years, or destroy the planet with the green-house effect (in the same time frame), or any number of other stupid things that have been said, the press is there - sensationalizing the stories and reporting on the most extremists views that they can find. Because, it'll sell papers. Of course if predicted events don't come to pass, it doesn't matter because the public has a short memory, and doesn't hold reporters accountable -- so the press does not care.

The media today also seems to be about news-feeds, and wire services. Any idiot (and I mean that literally) can write an article and get it on Rueters or NYT-Syndicate, etc., and these articles will be flashed across the country. The more sensational the article, and the more it fits with the thinking of the "press-masses", the more likely it is to be picked up. Many small papers just take the story direct - their job is to sell advertising and layout, they don't have the resources to actually report the news. Other papers rewrite the story based on their writers opinions, speculation and some of the information (even if it is misinformation or wrong in the first article). (You ever play telephone as a kid? Whispering a story in the ear of your neighbor and passing it down the line until it is unrecognizable as the original. That is the modern day press.) As near as I can tell, fact checking and verification is not important anymore - get the paper out, and if its wrong, and a big stink is made, they might offer a page 5, 1-sentence retraction.

Exactly this happened with WSJ. They ran a front page article about how Apple was doomed because their sales in Q2 '96 were so much less than Q2 '95 - and the article had many other errors. When it was found out that they had gotten the years backwards and sales were up, they offered a page 5 retraction. Nowhere did the WSJ mention that they have business arrangements with Bill Gates or MS (Apples competition). They also predicted Apple would lose up to 250-300 million in one quarter, and Apple actually lost 25 million - but their stock had taken a dive based on the prediction. There have been about 5 other examples of blazing stupidity from them regarding Apple. I've decided that no one at WSJ knows shit about Apple, no one wants to learn or listen, and they know very little about computers in general. Apple has tried to give them the correct information - but they don't care.

Journalism is also a big clique. They feel a camaraderie based on their career path - and often stick together. It is not a conspiracy - just more of a trying to fit in. Hell, Doctors, Lawyers and Union Workers are often the same way. There are too few whistle blowers, or those willing to stand up for the "right "things - especially if it will get them ostracized from their group. Just like a bunch of well-meaning Nazi's more interested in fitting in than in what they are doing. So when the consensus starts heading one way on a particular issue, more follow - never questioning or thinking.

Now, imagine you are a group thinker. What would bug you more than anything? Usually those who are willing to go it alone. More so if they are successful. In walks Apple. *BURN THE WITCH!* The press has a hay-day bashing and predicting their demise, and spinning everything they can in the worst possible way.

Just look at some of the following examples -

This whole section is devoted to exposing the truth of spin and error in the press when it comes to Apple. The point being that the press has decided the truth, and then is doing almost everything in their power to prove their erroneous conclusions - and the press is more than willing to ignore the facts or their journalistic responsibility along the way.

So the point is that the media is biased. While they are certainly to blame for their irresponsible reporting, the public is also to blame for not holding them accountable. There are certainly some good articles and writers out there - but often they are just drowned-out by the concophony of the group.

What to do about it?

Since we can not change the press, it is out individual responsibilities to ignore them and to try to get the news ourselves. When we read a bad article (and the information does not check out and is false) then we must do the following (in order) --

  • Write a letter to the editor and complain (politely) about the errors (and demand a correction / retraction).
  • Send a letter to the writer and complain (politely) and offer corrections and assistance to prevent such errors in the future.

If that fails, and you can not get them to publish a correction, or put up a well written response to their errors, then you can do the following --

  • Move up the chain to the Senior Editor, and comlain that they are not abiding by journalistic integrity.
  • Contact various journalist groups that writers belong to, and complain about bias and ethics (in not allowing corrections and not correcting their own errors).
  • Cancel your subscriptions.
  • Create a well written letter about the error (polite), and the actions (or lack thereof) of that paper to correct their mistake -- and send it to competing journals.


We should all learn to not blindly beleive what journalists they say, and instead use a little critical thining (skepticism) when we read or watch anything.

Unfortunately, if we do not our duties (and watch diligently) -- then press will continue to harm companies and individuals for their own enrichment (through sensationalism and sloth) - and much of the real blame belongs on us for buying their trash!

Created: 02/18/97
Updated: 11/09/02

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