MSNBC is pro-Obama, Fox News is anti. ABC is ‘neutral’, CNN is less so. Fox supports the war in Iraq, MSNBC opposes it. The Obama Administration prefers MSNBC to Fox, just as Bush prefers Fox to the New York Times. Indeed, the media are as politically biased as their editorial contents do not align with one’s politics. Hence, the liberals’ preference for PBS, CBS and New York Times in the coverage of the Obama presidential campaign than Fox News. Or, in my case, Malaysiakini, Malaysian Insider and Malaysia Today for critical coverage of Malaysian affairs than the mainstream papers, such as The Star or the New Straits Times Group. One’s preference for particular media outlets depends on how they reinforce our political views and affirm our beliefs. Thus, slanted reports are ‘facts’ and ‘substance’ to some, but ‘bull’ and ‘schlock’ to others. Where stories written by armchair journalists are generated from public relations materials and government releases, “bull” and “real news” are becoming more similar by the day. ‘Gonzo journalism’ might even become ‘respectable’ and a popular elective in journalism schools with students, the ‘digital natives’, carving their niche through their blogs. How far will students, consumed by a culture of Googles and Tweets, stretch and test the principles of ethical and truthful journalism?
Recommended CitationLoo, Eric, Q&A with John McManus, media ‘bull detector’, Asia Pacific Media Educator, 20, 2010, 217-224.