Seeing the Round Corners

July 23, 2018


The Media (print and on-air) has lost sight of what its responsibility is to the public.

Guarantee of a free press is found in Amendment I to the Constitution of the United States:

  • Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assembly, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

   With proliferation of today’s advanced technology, the world (at least this nation) is a very different animal than when Amendment I was ratified in December of 1791 (the date the first ten Amendments to the Constitution were ratified).

Much has been written about the Constitution of the United States of America with regard to what the “drafters” intended. One has to admit, it amounts to real audacity to espouse intent drafters had in the 1700’s, expecting the present day world to accept the new spin on it.

John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” (Adams was a signer of the unanimous Declaration of Independence from the state of Massachusetts.) But, being “wholly inadequate to the government of any other” does not mean twist things so they fit the purveyor of words own justifications.

The vast number of people who classify themselves as “journalists” adds to the problem. The idea of bias can generate a broad array of defensive maneuvers, which leads to a new bias to show just how unbiased a reporter/news organization is or is not (a.k.a. “chasing your tail”) – all the while tainting the point of the coverage, or losing sight of it completely.

The opportunity to slant a news story is so broad, a reporter can pretty well decide the outcome of the overall evaluation or assessment of the targeted subject regardless of who – President Trump, someone or something else.

How is it so easy? Reporters rely on sources and those can be a few or many. The information a reporter chooses to cite from each source, as well as which source to give the most credibility to, added to the language the reporter chooses to use, determines the overall outcome – a bashing of the target, a left-leaning or right leaning assessment, or a mixed in the middle outcome.

Far too often, a reporter will choose to use factual information that “utilizes loaded words” (words that attempt to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes) to favor liberal causes. A reporter can choose the focus or basis – a story on President Trump could be on character and leadership or on policy agenda. Need it be pointed out, choosing the character and leadership focus afford the greater opportunity for bashing if the reporter is in the anti-Trump camp.

As with almost any business, the exponential growth of the news media has led to a cottage industry evolving that concentrates on how the media is biased and presumes to be so expert as to chronicle what it determines as bias and failings of the media.

Unfortunately, the advent of such organizations have led to reporters realizing what is the modern demeanor for a reporter – “be edgy and opinionated and to call attention to yourself,” according to Robert Lichter, a media-bias researcher and head of the Center for Media and Pubic Affairs at George Mason University. Lichter also said, “Once people see something they don’t like, they notice things that reinforce the belief that there’s bias in the media as a whole.” Readers, give some deep thought to what the man is saying – it is called loss of objectivity.

The Pew Research Center’s news-bias survey cited “cable news” as what the majority of respondents define as “news organizations” (Fox News and CNN). The most popular programs on these stations are ones which “opinionated hosts ask opinionated guests to sling opinions about the day’s news.”  Others in this category are the major network Sunday shows such as Face the Nation, Meet the Press, and Washington Week.

As defense to media bias and why that cottage industry has evolved is this – technology means us ordinary people have more access to more news sources than ever before and get different accounts of the same event. When they don’t correlate, reporters are caught and called out    on why they ignored or emphasized certain facts as they did or did not.

The mission of Seeing the Round Corners is to evoke a thought process and interest in becoming better informed and to be skeptical of the headline-grabbing purveyors of information.

The reader's comments or questions are always welcome. E-mail me at