Wednesday, February 08, 2006

media bias flip flop

Public opinion is generally formed by what is written in the media. This is why so-called "non-free" countries limit what the media is allowed to publish. They don't want the people thinking bad things about them.

This is supposedly not an issue in a country with a free press. The press is supposed to present a fair, unbiased view of current events and then the readers can decide how they want to react to different stories. The editor determines what stories are newsworthy and what bend to give every story. While freedom of press takes away power from the government, it gives that power to a couple of people who were never voted in to anything and have nothing balancing their power.

The editors of the large media outlets in Israel determine the elections. Until a couple days ago, the Yediot and Maariv were both firmly on Olmert's side. Nothing he did was a mistake. Nobody asked Kadima any policy questions. Nobody is questioning why he was letting Hamas shoot rockets into Israel while he decided to send his police force to beat up some Jewish kids.

This is not the first time the major media outlets lined up on a political question. For example, the story of why the chief of staff in the military was fired when he spoke about security issues in the disengagement (or uprooting as Diskin called it) was given minor publicity.

Two days ago the media slightly changed their bias and started promoting Netanyahu over Olmert. They still haven't hit Olmert with hardball questions, but apparently they didn't like the way the poll results were going so they decided to give Netanyahu a couple extra seats.

This unbridled power must be taken away from the press. Media outlets should have a committee that determines when stories are too slanted or when one side of a story is one the headlines and the other side of the story gets half a column on page 4. There should be rules regarding how long someone can be an editor for. There are a lot of ways that the free press can and should be fixed. But it needs to work without government oversight or we go back to our first problem.

1 comment:

Robyn said...

i feel like the answer goes back to the one you had two posts ago... the lack of intelligent life thing... in order to form a comitee of intelligent, balanced people not on a power trip you need to come up with a couple to start with and then build from there, good luck...