Bias in the media.
Webster defines the word “bias” as, “an inclination of temperament or outlook, especially: a personal and sometimes unreasoned judgment.“
By that definition, we are all biased. Our inclinations are born of our upbringing, our education, our standing in society, our employment and our life experiences. Virtually every intellectual encounter – including our processing of the day’s events – passes through a filter colored by our cultural, educational and experiential inclinations. Often our judgments are unreasoned. They happen without conscious thought.
Most of us instinctively understand this and most of us make a conscious effort, when one is required, to put our biases aside and look at controversial topics and situations as objectively as we can. But we remain human – and thus imperfect – and try as we might our biases color, to a greater or lesser degree, all that we think, say and do.
A room filled with newsgathering technology – computers, television monitors, telephones, cameras, microphones, etc., etc. – is also filled with the humans who use that technology. They bring their biases to work with them every day. To expect otherwise is unrealistic.
All of this is offered as predicate to the announcement that I, an independent radio station owner, have made the decision to end my principal station’s affiliation with ABC News Radio – an affiliation that spans more than seven decades. In place of twice-hourly newscasts and breaking news coverage from ABC, our listeners will now be served by Fox News Radio.
I have been and will remain a staunch admirer of the radio professionals at ABC. Many of them I count as personal friends. They are employed at one of the big-league franchises in broadcast news because they are exceptionally good at what they do. I know from having watched them work that they do their very best to get it right.
I will always be indebted to ABC. ABC has done much over the years to make KTBB a better radio station than it would have been otherwise. Making and then acting on the decision to end our affiliation with ABC was particularly painful.
But it was necessary. To do otherwise would have been to disrespect the clearly stated desires of the clear majority our audience. For the past several years you have not been equivocal. You have said loud and clear that you want a change.
We heard you.
It’s not news to anyone that the legacy news organizations are under fire for real and perceived bias in their reporting. A recent Gallup poll revealed that 69 percent of Americans don’t trust the media.
The problem with the national media today isn’t bias per se. To say that bias is a problem is akin to saying that gravity is a problem. Both are intrinsic and ever-present.
The problem is that the bias in national newsrooms lacks diversity. All of the biases – including those of the editors and the management – lean in the same direction. That monolithic bias is reflected in the product. Such is the case because the vast majority of journalists are liberal – as has been true in this country since at least World War II.
Critics of Fox News – including my friends at ABC – say that Fox is biased to the right. Perhaps they are correct. My judgment of the Fox News product is that it’s much more objective than that of its legacy competitors. But that judgment is unavoidably colored by my own biases, which are on display in this space every week. Objectivity is truly in the eye of the beholder.
Let’s therefore stipulate, at the very least for purpose of this discussion, that Fox News does, indeed, lean to the right.
Accepting that stipulation, we believe that we have nevertheless made a good decision. You, our listeners, don’t live in a vacuum. You get news, information and opinion from a variety of sources, including this radio station and the legacy networks like ABC.
If most of what you see elsewhere is biased to the left, having a reliable source of news that is biased to the right might serve to give you a more complete and more accurate picture of what is happening in the world that affects your life and your business.
Therefore, if KTBB’s affiliation with Fox News Radio brings balance to your total media diet, we will have provided a good and valuable service.
And we hope that it goes without saying that we will continue to thank you for listening and for sharing your feedback.
Editor’s note: KTBB 97.5 FM and 600 AM begins its affiliation with Fox News Radio on Monday, Jan 6, 2020.