Not to be too Foucault
ian here, but it is an impossible goal for news to be 'neutral.' Sure there are facts to be reported, but if you want reporting to get fancier than a simple chart
, the bias or perspective of the individual and organization involved is going to leave its mark. It's going to 'spin' the facts. Chalk it up to the intricacy and expressiveness of human language
, but the words you choose and the way you communicate them say a lot. The mock 'unbiased' headlines you choose exhibit this perfectly. Moving beyond the simple content of the copy, if you want to get into radio
reporting, add the subtle and not-so-subtle ideas and emotions that are communicated by tone of voice, or the lighting and editing involved, not to mention montages and sound effects, and you have pretty much entered the realm of pure editorializing, whether you wanted to or not.
Reporting cannot be perfectly neutral. The problem, however, is that the corporate media, because they control nearly every distribution channel, has the pretense of objectivity, while at the same time their reporting is constantly skewed by their bias.
Contrast this with Indymedia, which at the top of the web page has the explanation:
"Indymedia is a collective of independent media organizations and hundreds of journalists offering grassroots, non-corporate coverage. Indymedia is a democratic media outlet for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of truth."
Unlike the corporate media, they are not covert about their perspective. The tag line includes the words 'radical' and 'non-corporate' for crying out loud! Can you imagine every NBC news broadcast starting with the disclaimer
"NBC is a subsidiary of General Electric, a multi-billion dollar multinational corporation with a significant interest in the content of reporting, and furthermore this news broadcast is brought to you by corporate sponsors that we cannot perturb."
or how about FOX news revealing
"The FOX network is owned by Rupert Murdoch, a billionaire with notoriously conservative viewpoints."
Can you imagine that? This would be the equivalent to what Indymedia is saying.
But furthermore, not only is the corporate media assumed to be neutral while they are in fact not, they are actually actively distortive and dishonest. Thus you can have FOX news displaying their motto "We report, you decide" as though they were journalistic guardians of democracy, while they run story after story about how Al Gore is a liar, then feature a debate show with a virulently right wing pundit with a loud microphone and favorable lighting up against a centrist pundit with a broken microphone and unfavorable lighting. The same goes for CNN. I have seen their dishonesty first hand1. Over at ABC, John Stossel continues to get his own hour-long specials despite his own acknowledgement that he has fabricated facts. As far as I know, Indymedia has never faked an interview or intentionally misreported a fact.
So no, news cannot be neutral… and the fact is that the corporate media, which is actually not just naturally biased but often dishonest, is assumed to be objective. See the problem?
see my wu in World Economic Forum
for how I saw CNN distort.