Media Bias isn’t the Real Problem
Media consumers on all political sides like complaining about bias. Conservatives deride liberal bias, while liberals are endlessly angered by the right-wing advocacy of Fox News. Straight-up dishonest propaganda is clearly harmful, but most viewers of MSNBC or Fox News know they’re getting a progressive or a conservative perspective and it’s up to them to search out other viewpoints. We all suffer from some level of confirmation bias, but it’s easy enough if you try to check out different sources that challenge your beliefs. I know if I mostly read Krugman, Klein, and Yglesias I should spend some time reading Caplan, Sumner, and Mankiw.
But only major media outlets tend to get interviews with our political officials and hold them accountable directly. When you watch those interviews it becomes clear that that the trouble with journalism today isn’t bias, it’s deference. Conor Friedersdorf shows how 60 Minutes completely fail the public when interviewing the president.
What this interview represents — like so many broadcast news interviews with sitting politicians and high level bureaucrats — is the charade of asking tough questions to hold the president accountable. And the utter failure to ask any actually tough questions, to unearth any new facts of significance, to force any sort of reckoning before the television cameras on a matter of importance. If I were advising Obama, I’d make sure that Kroft got the next exclusive interview too.
Please read his whole piece – the questions Kroft asks… just go read it!