In the Matter of "Balance"

Re: Harvard Study: "..Media has been Negatively Biased against Trump.." -- Iron Worker
Posted by CPMariner , Sun, Dec 10, 2017, 11:55:41 Post ReplyTop of ThreadReviews by CPMarinerFirst Amendment Message BoardMain site

What is balanced reporting, anyway? Is it just a matter of the number of articles? A word count? How does one assure that the "researcher" isn't himself biased, and so on?

As for Harvard as a study resource, there's a high probability that a professor conducting a study can call upon a large troop of "graduate assistants" to do the grunt work for him, raising the question of his marching orders to them and a potential implicit bias in those. (Graduates would much rather have "Assistant to Professor Hogwash of Harvard" than "Assistant to Professor Boolsheeter of E. Chicklenswitch U" on their resumes.)

It happens that I read an article just a few days ago that professed to do an "article count" of Clinton vs. Trump during the final five months of the 2016 campaign. According to the writer, the "Clinton Emails" articles outnumbered all articles about Trump combined by a significant margin.

Why? To me, it seems easy to understand. Trump had by that time shown his entire hand: build the wall (details TBA), deport everyone who wasn't nailed to the floor (details TBA), "lock her up", tear up trade treaties (details TBA), and a few other odds and ends that came and went. We'd heard it all before. Move along folks, nothing to see here.

"Clinton Emails", by contrast, was like a novel being written on the fly, and no one could sneak a peek at the last chapter because it was still "in outline". Basement server! Private IT guy running it! Missing emails! "Classified" - or not! (If so when? And by whom?) Comey! Huma Abedin! Even Weiner - yes, Weiner! - got into the act!

No match. While Trump was rousing the rabble with tailgate rally parties and repeating the same old stuff over and over (different city, same shit), Clinton was wading through stacks of Wikileaks "revelations" and lying awake a night staring at the ceiling and chanting "emails...emails...emails".

Did - and do - the print "MSM" want to see Trump come unraveled and motorize his revolving door cabinet, or lead the charge into a redux of the "Saturday night massacre"? Sure they do! Did - and do - the "non MSM" want to convince the public that the intelligence community, the FBI, the "deep state", the "elites", Hollywood, the "enemy of he people" media, and Mueller et al are all part of a loosely organized "vast left wing conspiracy"? Sure they do!

So at the end of the day it all comes down to preaching to the choir. Do you think the Cliven Bundys of the world bother to regularly read the NY Times, or that the CPs of the world bother to regularly read the Jewish World Review?

I don't. I think that those who are interested have already made up their minds, and no amount of bloviation from the left or right will change them. What some see as salvation, others see as catastrophe.

So biases - either way - are largely moot. Personally, I read the "news" mostly for entertainment with little expectation of learning much beyond the latest "sensation"... until it blows over. But strange to tell, it's not cynicism. It's just a recognition that "it's come to this". Maybe "this" will blow over too.


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