Media Bias: A Dissection (2/3)

Hey Jordan,

Thanks for your note. There’s a lot here!

So, look, is there “media bias?” Yeah, as you say, I’m not going to argue the counter. The media is made up of humans and humans are inherently emotional and therefore, biased, creatures. I’m not giving up valuable ground by conceding that the majority of the media, I’d wager, leans “liberal” (read: votes primarily Democratic). Does that skew the prism through which reality is digested, yah, obviously.

I think that can exist as true, and there can be generally unambiguously material to be critical of for this administration. Which I think is the case.

To start, I think an aggressive case for that is made here:

The Relentless Bias Against Donald Trump

I generally agree with that, even if I wouldn’t have put it quite so bluntly.

There are so many questions that you raise (rhetorically?) in your article that I can’t go through them one by one (but which we could do in a podcast format…). My take:

I interpret this as comparing the statements from McMaster + Trump against what they’ve confirmed with their source (in the original articles). Now, from there you raise a number of more subtle points, a few of which that I agree with. Could it be “wholly appropriate” and “highly classified?” Yah, of course it could. You’re saying that’s bias. I’d agree if it wasn’t Trump. I think, as the screed I linked to points out, that Trump’s administration doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt based on the long list of “stretched truths.” The latest Comey stuff only adds to this.

You could argue that the things that you object to give context to the story. It places the actions within a spectrum of history (recent and past) as to what adheres to norms and not. This is, of course, relatively subjective. So you can see clear, incisive reporting of the reality of the situation *or* deeply biased reporting of events intended to distort and skew how it is interpreted. Based on my view (which, of course, I consider pretty reasonable and likely), I put it in the former.

Haha, and while I think your closing line is very funny, I’m not sure it’s deserved?

You are right that “favorite topics” is subjective. But is it unwarranted? He has spoken repeatedly about leaks (and also his relative popularity — his votes, inauguration attendance). Is using the word “favorite” unfair? I suppose one could have a precise argument over whether favorite is the best choice here…do we know it’s his favorite? We know it’s one of his most frequent but anything beyond ventures more into subjectivity. That said, I do think it’s reasonable even if it could draw scrutiny.

Net: I don’t know, man. I think you do your cause a disservice by picking examples that are such a stretch. I think far easier examples abound. Just yesterday, I saw this:

This headline implies that somehow there’s a groundswell against Trump from the states. True, but biased. There are 15 state Attorney General’s that are suing on behalf of their state. All are Democrats. This is a case of raw facts being reported without the context that you despise, and that I like. The context here would lead to another headline (and angle for the article): “Democratic leaders wage state level war to save Obamacare” or the like.

I think this is a very clear example of the bias. The reporter (and arguably more involved) do view this as the states fighting back. Again, this is true. But it misses the subjective piece, which I’d argue is the higher truth in context: this is another battle in a political fight. I think it’s clear this is pointed out more explicitly with regard to the Trump administration than it is in the Democratic opposition to it.

So I think in looking for bias, you see it every where, even its most tangential forms…

surya

Read Jordan’s response ->

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