reply to post by vimanarider
While I agree with your assessment that CNN has every right to fire this editor, and I also agree that her remark was less than prudent, I must take
issue with your assertion that news should be unbiased. This is a canard that has created a cultural meme where people actually believe that the news
is, or at least when it is recognized for not being so, unbiased. The news has never been unbiased, and before there were newspapers, there were
pampleteers who used those pamphlets to advocate their position. This is why we have The Federalist Papers, as well as the far lesser known
The Anti-Federalist Papers is less known, in a large part due to a biased news media that has virtually ignored its existence. Not to mention the
biased historians who contribute to ensuring the Anti-Federalist Papers remains obscure. As pamphleteering grew into newspapers political advocacy
was the standard text of most newspapers, and indeed, remains so today. The Los Angeles Times, a paper that has always been left wing in its
advocacy, has regular features such as Column One which is nothing more than an op-ed piece featured on the front page of the paper. The rest of the
front page can, on certain days, be inundated with "news analysis" which is yet another euphemism for opinion. These euphemisms are used to create
an appearance that the paper, on the whole is, unbiased, and when it is being biased it is being "honest" about this bias.
I had journalism classes back in college, and one of the things that was stressed ad nauseum was that our opinions were not allowed in the writing.
Thus, if reporting on an automobile accident that resulted in several deaths, and if these deaths were particularly gruesome, the word gruesome was
not allowed to be written since it constituted an opinion. However, the word gruesome is often used by newspapers and broadcasters and it is used
because of the axiom, "if it bleeds it leads". Gruesome, horrible, tragic, horrific, monstrous, and terrifying are words that sell news. They are
opinionated words, but they sell.
I am not advocating marketing of news, what I am suggesting is that we abandon this pretense that the news is any less yellow today, than it was when
Hearst owned newspapers. The news was biased at the height of "yellow journalism" and it was still biased when "the most trusted man in America"
Walter Conkrite cried when announcing the death of JFK, and when he announced the Tet Offensive as a defeat for the American military. That he openly
wept when announcing the death of JFK may indeed be why he was the "most trusted man in America", ("Oh the humanity"), but it was still bias, and
his assessment of the Vietnam conflict and certainly his assessment of the Tet Offensive, was wrong. The Tet Offensive was a complete failure for the
Viet Cong in spite of the fact that this offensive took the American military by surprise.
I am not suggesting nor advocating the Vietnam conflict as a "good war", nor am suggesting that those who fought in that war were also "the
greatest generation" as Tom Brokaw declared when describing the generation that grew up during the Great Depression, and certainly Brokaw was showing
a distinct bias when making such a declaration, and this is all I am suggesting. I can not think of any time in the history of journalism when it was
"unbiased", and I don't understand why people keep describing the profession as if it has such as standard, or even that it can be expected to live
up this impossible standard.