Thursday, June 30, 2005

10:11 PM// Tomlinson: Using the worst yardstick ever

Like most hardcore listeners of NPR, I've been inundated with various accounts and discussions of CPB Chairman Tomlinson's clandestine study of bias in public broadcasting. Using for his yardstick, the personal ideals or party status of those associated with NPR, PBS, etc., Tomlinson hopes to demonstrate a left-leaning bias towards reporting. Now hold it right there. What no one seems to be questioning is this: if a supposedly objective journalist's personal views affect his/her reporting of objective fact, we've got much bigger problems, folks.

You might be able to show that most NPR journalists are registered democrats while most Fox News correspondents are registered republicans, but that shouldn't be the basis for determining the bias of that news gathering organization. A true journalist is supposed to completely disconnect his/her personal opinions of the way things should be, or what is right and wrong, and report the news. In order to show a bias in the show, you're going to have to do much more than simply show NPR affiliates are liberal, Mr. Tomlinson.

Now, I know that the study looked at much more than that. It categorized the political stance of the guests or callers on the show as well. Still, to even suggest that PBS is left-leaning because the host happens to be a liberal, or believe this or that (providing he/she doesn't announce it on the show or tout it around like fact), should have nothing to do with any supposed bias of the show. If it does, then that is a completely separate issue, and one of a much more serious nature.


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