Monday, October 6, 2014

The media: the fourth estate

The founding fathers noted that under the British monarchy, people were not allowed to speak out against their government.  In fact, they were aware that this was how it was for about 99.9% of history for the entire world.  When they were creating the founding documents, they yearned to preserve the natural right to speak out against a government.  

The reason we have freedom of the press is because the media is supposed to hold politicians accountable.  In fact, they used to call themselves the fourth estate, as though they were one of the branches of government.  However, the key here is that they have to look at both sides of every story as unbiased shepherds of the news and be impartial, regardless of whatever opinions they hold.  

Results from polling data compiled by Media Research Center
Since about the mid 20th century this has all changed, considering most polling data on this subject shows that greater than 80 percent of journalists favor democratic candidates. Still, that doesn't prove media bias.

What does prove bias is how the news is reported. For example, polling data showing George Bush disapproval ratings made the front pages of newspapers nearly every day.  Yet since Obama has been president, such polling data has either een bunder reported or hidden deep within the paper.

Consider for a moment that there are a ton of people in the United States, including myself, who believe that Israel has been poorly treated since its inception.  But if you read newspaper accounts, Israel is the bad guy in nearly every war it fights.  If you were a person who simply read a few newspaper accounts regarding Israel, you'd think it was full of evil, wicked people.

Honorable, unbiased journalists should not be trying to shape the news with a political agenda.  But that's what they seem to do now-a-days, and that's why bloggers like myself feel the need to report the truth about Israel.

Truthfully, I'd much rather just read the news and spend my time writing the history of asthma.  Rather than just buy into the first account they hear or see, good journalists used to naturally take information with a grain of salt and do their own investigation.  Such a simple investigation might reveal to them a more revealing side to the Jewish story.

The media in this country has even tanked itself in the polls, as most Americans don't even trust the news they get from CNN, ABC, NBC, and the New York Times.  According to a 2014 Gallup poll, under 20% of Americans have confidence in the media.

This is not good.  The media is supposed to be our watchdog.  The media is supposed to report history.  The media is supposed to be reporting not just a fact, but all facts. The media is supposed to be digging up dirt on both republicans and democrats.  The media is supposed to be unbiased shepherds of the news.

It used to be taught that the powerful were corrupt.  Even when I was in journalism school back in 1988 I was taught to always be a skeptic of those in power.

As a young and naive reporter for the Ferris State University Torch, I was asked by my editor to investigate the 99% job placement number the school reported. Was it really true that 99% of students who graduated from that school were getting placed in jobs.

After an investigation I learned that it was true, although that 99% figure included jobs like McDonalds and Burger King.  So upon a simple investigation that took me only a few minutes to conduct, it was learned that this number was not accurate, and that it was only reported to make the school look good.  If we had reported that 99% figure The Torch wold have been acting as public relations consultants for the school.

But I hated journalism, I hated to snoop on people, so the job of snooping for the truth was left to other people.  Quite honestly, I was naive enough at this time to suspect that what they reported would be both sides of the story. Yet as the years crept by more and more evidence crept up showing to me that what I was reading did not match what I was observing with my own eyes.

Recent evidence of media bias came in June of 2014.  June economic numbers released by the White House showing a 6% unemployment rate and 275,000 jobs created.  The White House championed that the recession was over because Obamonomics had resulted in 200,000 plus new jobs each month in 2014.

Most media reports, but not all, reported these numbers without questioning them. I could understand this from the point of view of a small town newspaper where reporters are mainly interested in local news.  But larger conglomerate newspapers such as the New York Times should further investigate these numbers.  Large media outlets like CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News should not settle for numbers alone, lest they merely become public relations satellited of the democratic party.

If the media were still acting as the fourth estate, a simple investigation would have revealed that 523,000 full-time jobs were lost in June.  This is horrible economic news.

If the media still acting as the fourth estate, a simple investigation would have revealed that 699,000 low paying part time jobs were created in June.  This is horrible economic news, unless you're fine with a person working 2-3 part time jobs to support a family.

So by dissecting the the 275,000 jobs growth numbers reported by the White House we learn this is not an indicator of positive economic growth.

The net result was a net gain of 275,000 jobs in June, most of which were part time and not full time jobs.  The fourth estate, you see, would have reported not just the number released by the White House, but the dissected numbers as well.

In conclusion, we learn that on the surface the numbers reported by the White House look good.  But, after a simple yet thorough investigation we learn that the 275,000 jobs gained in June of 2014 are not so indicative to the robust economy the White House is champion.

You see, reporting what is released by the White House merely turns media outlets into satellites for the party in power, which in this case so happened to be the democratic party.  Such poor reporting does no justice to freedom and liberty and the quest for truth and accuracy in the news.

Truthfully, and in my humble opinion, Watergate would never happen today unless those involved so happened to be a republican.  A strong and robust economy is never strong and robust unless you are a democrat politician.  Tanking political numbers are never significant unless you are a democrat.  Body counts during wars are never counted unless you are a republican war president.

Media bias is the only thing that can explain why events leading up to the bombing of a U.S. embassy that killed four Americans was never reported. It's the only thing to explain why the fact that global temperatures have not increased since 1998 is rarely mentioned.

In my opinion, reporters and editors and producers and camera men and women who do not report both sides of the story are lazy and biased.  Based on an abundance of evidence, when democrats are in power they cover up scandals and bad news and report only news that benefits democrats.  When republicans are in power they act as the fourth estate.

All in all, this probably explains why most journalists, but not all, usually vote democrat and report from a democrat perspective.  When democrats are in power they become lazy, and when republicans are in power they work hard and investigate and think.

The founding fathers are probably rolling over in their graves as they see a left leaning media expressing their privilege to criticize the government only when it's to the convenience of their political agenda.