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This is an opinion piece with some interesting poll numbers to back it up. Just wanted to say that up front. The only reason I'm writing it is to sound a warning bell. For real. I think a lot us have felt that there's boat loads of bias in the media and this study just kind of confirms we're not crazy. That's the good news.
So these two professors of journalism in Indiana recently posted the results of their study. They wanted to know the party affiliation of journalists. Kinda cool. They've been doing this little experiment for quite a while and it's interesting to see the changes in demographics. (I'll post a link down below.) But here's two of the stats that were...enlightening.
59.7% of journalists felt that journalism was "headed in the wrong direction" (kudos for the realization you're screwing up), and only 7% identified as Republican. 28% said they were Democrats and 50% said they were "independents." (Which, in my opinion, means, "I'm a Democrat but I learned to call myself an independent at journalism class in college.")
The problem, simply put, is group think. The ol' media bubble. When you are surrounded by people who think the same way YOU DO, are you really gonna engage in critical thinking? I don't think so. You're gonna write a biased piece and your biased editor is gonna read it and say, "Well done! Let's go with that."
It's damn near impossible to eliminate personal bias in reporting and if you're surrounded with the SAME bias, group think is almost impossible to avoid. It's quicksand. Instead of looking at events objectively you look at an event in terms of, "Are these good or bad for my political party?". You've chosen a side. That's the death of journalism.
Americans need the fabled Fourth Estate. The citizen voter (who is supposed to run the country) needs facts. That's the only way to make decisions as to what policy or candidate to support. And when some politically motivated reporter can tip the scales, that messes up the whole system. If you want to be the trusted Fourth Estate, start acting like it!
Here's what we can't have: A nation full of delusional, misinformed people. There is no more certain way to end the grand experiment called America than to have an electorate full if idiots, voting for idiots to lead them. It's like a horror movie.
I think we we're all pretty sure there was media bias before this study, but hoorah! Now there's proof! The only upside I can glean from this is, they know it too. They know that they are "headed in the wrong direction." So let's keep our eyes and ears open and see what they do. With great power comes great responsibility. Don't abuse it. You'll ruin it for everybody.
Here's the link to the study.