We hear a lot about media bias. CNN goes one way, Fox news goes the other, but there is a deeper bias that nobody really challenges. This video takes the lessons learned from living through a news event, and blows the lid off of the real media bias.
Media bias, people talk about it a lot. Liberal Media Bias. The Conservative Media Empire.
Some see bias as a simple us versus them fight. But it’s not that simple.
In May and June of last year my walk home got a little weird. The events at Gezi park were one of the most extraordinary things I have ever experienced. I found myself getting very angry at the reporting though. Every story failed to capture the experience. It wasn’t just the obvious and shameful failure of the Turkish Media. Everything said internationally made me angry as well. It all seemed infuriatingly incomplete.
Eventually I realized that my expectations were too high. No one-thousand or even twenty-thousand word story was going to fully convey the horror of tear gassed neighborhoods, or the intricacies of the motivations that brought my Turkish friends and co-workers to the streets.
Every story, in every publication comes down to choices. Things that are kept in, things that are left out. These choices are made by individual journalists, they are made by editors and they are made by owners of Publications. Every choice that is made is made according to some sort of bias, it is unavoidable. You can’t tell stories without making choices.
Every story, including this one, is fundamentally flawed.
But we need stories. There is no other way to understand the world. The danger comes with institutional limits on stories.
Liberal and conservative bias is just marketing, and its usually obvious. The real biases are much more basic and harder to see. No institution will choose to tell stories that challenge the interests of defense contractors, or too big to fail banks. No institution will choose to tell stories that challenge our race based incarceration system, or that reflect the massive and unrelenting growth of our governing apparatus over the last century. No Institutions will choose to tell these stories.
But individuals will, and that’s the good news.
The internet provides incredible power to individuals who want to tell the stories that matter. People no longer need a fortune to access an audience. Individuals can now force institutions to recognize reality.
In 2013 three people and their laptops managed to force the world media to pay attention to our steadily diminishing freedoms. They only caught the world’s attention for a moment, but they won’t be the last to do something similar.
The ongoing embarrassment of the coverage of the crisis in Ukraine is another great example. The obvious joke of Russian coverage, and the more subtle farce of the western media’s coverage is more and more obvious every day. We are getting too smart for them…
We now have all the tools necessary to make our own choices about what we consume. We now have the ability to produce our own stories. We can find or make stories that aren’t completely historically ignorant. We can find or make stories that focus on who really benefits from what is going on. The only question now, is how to find and organize all these independent voices. That is a biq question, but this process is just getting started. There is a lot to look forward to.
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