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Sunday, October 18, 2009

"Fair and Balanced" May Be Spreading 

Two recent examples from surprising sources indicate that established media organizations, perhaps in spite of themselves, are capable of presenting both sides of society's most controversial issues. In one case, Jill Stanek reports that a recent pair of articles in the New York Times (yes, the New York Times !) told the stories of prolife street protesters in a even-handed manor and presented the photographic evidence of the violence of abortion usually avoided by the major media.

In the other example, the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), in an on-line article, actually acknowledged that the question of man-made global warming is far from settled. Scientists with differing points of view on the issue were quoted and the complexity and changing state of climate science were recognized.

It's too soon to tell whether these examples signal an emerging trend. Occurrences of the usual ideological media bias are still common. However, declining readership/viewership and major scoops by alternative media enterprises (e.g. the ACORN scandal) may be forcing some established media practitioners to be more diligent about getting outside of their ideological comfort zones to present controversial issues more fairly.

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