Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News Essay
The nonfiction book of Bernard Richard Goldberg entitled Ã¢â¬Å"Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the NewsÃ¢â¬ is phenomenal and controversial. Goldberg boldly and bravely mentioned celebrity news man and reporters who actively participate in the idea of media bias. His book generally states the slanted or one-sided nature of the news coverage. The book will give the readers ideas and evidences on how integrity, fairness, and balance disappeared from news reporting. Hence, this paper attempts to give the readers a glimpse about GoldbergÃ¢â¬â¢s perceptions of the how the news is being formulated nowadays. It intends to discuss some of the evidences backed up with GoldbergÃ¢â¬â¢s opinion about news formulation in America particularly in the CBS News. This paper also aims to provide personal feedback and evaluations about GoldbergÃ¢â¬â¢s charges of media bias and present ideas about journalism today. Veteran CBS reporter, Bernard Richard Goldberg in his book Ã¢â¬Å"Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the NewsÃ¢â¬ exposed how media bias prevails in AmericaÃ¢â¬â¢s media. The title itself gives the readers an idea about its content. The book clearly walks them through from the authorÃ¢â¬â¢s experiences in the world of journalism. He delivered an array of criticisms against major broadcasting networks and news reporters. He mentioned his perceptions about his colleaguesÃ¢â¬â¢ biases in presenting news. Goldberg showed how news organizations and his colleagues working as Ã¢â¬ËjournalistsÃ¢â¬â¢ operate behind the cameras. Any reader will agree that the extreme bitterness of Goldberg towards his colleagues before was very evident and transparent in the book. The book presents facts and evidences about the idea of the media being leftist. Chapter 5 is a good example on how reporters used media for political persuasion. Goldberg supported this idea through evidence. In 1980, Goldberg started noticing that the homeless people in America showed on the news Ã¢â¬Å"didnÃ¢â¬â¢t look very much like the homeless peopleÃ¢â¬ (Goldberg 63). The ones he saw on the sidewalks at large were drug addicts or winos who mumbled crazy things, but the ones that journalists showed on television were different. Ã¢â¬Å"They looked as if they came from their neighborhood and mine. They looked like usÃ¢â¬ (Goldberg 63). The quantity of homeless people being depicted in the media will somehow tell the leaderÃ¢â¬â¢s capability to lessen poverty. During that time, the elected president was Bill Clinton. Goldberg clearly said that media illustrated Bill Clinton as a perfect humanitarian. Homeless people have a better situation than before, or better yet, the problem of homelessness was solved. According to Goldberg, this was about not wanting to show certain Americans at all. Monumental stories of how Americans live their lives are not nearly monumental to some TV journalists. Goldberg criticized that journalists delighted so much on news and stories like Princess Diana, Fidel CastroÃ¢â¬â¢s communist dictatorship, and Jon Benet Ramsey but failed to focus on more important issues for American people that need to be addressed. The TV news influenced the viewers that the most important and significant story of contemporary times was Princess Di because it inspired and illuminated the people, but how about the more important realities which need to be solved? Goldberg presented wordy references of how media always ignore more relevant information. An example of the presented evidences was that Ã¢â¬Å"more and more mothers have opted for work outside of the house over taking care of their children at home and the results have been disastrousÃ¢â¬ (Goldberg 164). However, serious stories like this were not given serious coverage. The increasing number of sexual abuse in America, the increasing number of premarital sex of children below 15 years old, the effects of divorce and absence of American mothers at home were some of the important stories that were not accentuated in media. Identity politics, according to Goldberg, was very eminent. In his book, Goldberg gave an example: Ã¢â¬Å"During the Clinton impeachment trial in 1999, as the senators signed their names in the oath book swearing they would be fair and impartial, Jennings, who was anchoring ABC NewsÃ¢â¬â¢s live coverage, made sure his audience knew which senators were conservatives but uttered not a word about which ones were liberalÃ¢â¬ (Goldberg 57). This was a cold fact given which proves that conservatives and liberals in politics are treated in an obviously different manner by the news media. The book also informs the readers how media selects news and how they present it according to their own stand to attract attention. One prominent example is the way AIDS in the U. S. was depicted as an epidemic to Ã¢â¬Å"spark demand for massive government AIDS spending. Ã¢â¬ Since Goldberg has been in the news reporting field for a long time, readers can easily assume the credibility of the book. Most of the facts presented were even based on his personal experience in the business. His perceptions are backed up with statistics and evidences which will give the readersÃ¢â¬â¢ impression that he knows what he is talking about. His bravery to name names would make him gain heroic impression. Personally, however, I found weaknesses in the book. I agree with the idea that reporters mentioned by Goldberg tend to slant the news to cater to their own preferenceÃ¢â¬âthe standard of most viewers or the pro government. However, I am skeptic about whether the presented evidences given by Goldberg are enough to coin them media biases. It may be safe to conclude that GoldbergÃ¢â¬â¢s colleagues provided some favorable information and concealed unfavorable information to the news viewers. Goldberg observed that reporters choose to cover certain events only, but did he not consider that events are infinite in number which means space and time are necessarily limited? Reporters make their judgments in choosing events to cover which they think are newsworthy. Personally, that is not enough to label them as bias in general. I strongly believe that there is media bias as Goldberg wanted to depict, but the presented evidences were not just enough. I wish he went beyond that. Another weakness I found in the book is that Goldberg used political and technical terms like liberal bias, liberal hate speech, and conservatives to name a few. He failed to define them according to its context. Defining those terms will give the readers an idea what he was talking about. It may be easy to conclude that his target readers are those people working in the same business. Thus, those ordinary people who seek the truth can just define those terms in their own context and reality. As a result, they may misinterpret the message. Goldberg also failed to mention what factors made the media elite to be bias in presenting and choosing news. Was it because of their educational background? What kind of orientation and realities do they have that affect their preferences in judging what is newsworthy? Was it because of laziness, or was it because they unintentionally conform to the standard of the majority? It is natural for a reader to assume that Goldberg can actually answer these questions since they became his colleagues. I wanted to commend GoldbergÃ¢â¬â¢s idea about the homeless story. I find it weak. The readers may ask themselves whether homelessness during Bill ClintonÃ¢â¬â¢s administration remained stagnant. If only Goldberg provided information on the succeeding 0% of homelessness during ClintonÃ¢â¬â¢s era, it might truly create a stronger impact. However, in reading the book based on Goldberg evidences, I came up with the conclusion that the media abused their power to give information according to their own preference and standard. The problem is that they are not aware of it. They think that what they are doing is right. His book is good though in suggesting the news they are feeding the public are filtered and manufactured either intentionally or unintentionally. News must be presented accurately and completely, then let the public judge its context. The problem with journalists is that they tend to go beyond their job. I do not want to think that men and women entered journalism because they want to make a difference. Although that is good, the problem is they may just report certain news motivated by their own idealism and preference. For example, highlighting inspiring stories that may, in their own idea, inspire people and make a difference. Media must be very careful in giving the right and accurate information. Viewers of news want accurate information. They dislike slanted information because it will be costly in time, money, and effort to seek the truth. Despite its weaknesses, the book has motivated me to go and seek beyond the box. It cannot be ignored that Goldberg presented facts in his charges and accusations. The book provides one assurance: one cannot expect perfect accuracy and balance of information even from competitive and Ã¢â¬Å"credibleÃ¢â¬ media.