Here at Patch, we often read accusations leveled between commenters that readers are "brainwashed" because of a particular news outlet they read/listen to/watch.
As editors, we sometimes get nasty emails because we quoted Fox, or Huffington Post, or CNN. So, are these different media outlets really that biased?
Fox News says yes. For the past few days, they've featured a column called "Bias Alert."
Have you seen it?
Stories under that masthead have had titles like "MSNBC Caught in Big Video Gaffe" and "Mainstream Media is Now a Threat to Democracy."
Some of our readers would have a good chuckle at that, since they consider Fox to be "mainstream paranoia." Others consider Huffington Post and CNN left-wing propaganda machines.
This is bad. A new Gallup poll says that 60 percent of Americans have "little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly."
(For an example of following a story and still having no idea what really happened, check out the video above.)
Fox News contributor Patrick Caddell spoke during the Sept. 21 Accuracy in Media's Conference and had quite a bit to say on the subject of bias in media.
"I think we’re at the most dangerous time in our political history in terms of the balance of power in the role that the media plays in whether or not we maintain a free democracy or not," he said during the speech.
He went on to discuss not necessarily how President Obama has handled the Libya situation, but how the various media outlets have handled it.
He ended with the following:
"But all I want to conclude to this is that we face a fundamental danger here. The fundamental danger is this: I talked about the defense of the First Amendment. The press’s job is to stand in the ramparts and protect the liberty and freedom of all of us from a government and from organized governmental power.
When they desert those ramparts and decide that they will now become active participants, that their job is not simply to tell you who you may vote for, and who you may not, but, worse—and this is the danger of the last two weeks—what truth that you may know, as an American, and what truth you are not allowed to know, they have, then, made themselves a fundamental threat to the democracy, and, in my opinion, made themselves the enemy of the American people."
Well, OK then. So we need a different system.
And here we are! Patch editors are paid a salary by AOL. That's it, the end. Nobody tells us what to write, no one censors our work or opinions. Sure, we all have our own views. Sometimes they bleed over into our work, but you know what? We live next door to you, so just give us a call so that we can either discuss it, or tell you why we did it.
For example, the art work I originally had for an opinion piece on a 2016 Presidential Dream Team had a donkey and no elephant. Someone sent me an email that said, "Hey! Why no elephant?! You're biased!" (Not those exact words, but that was the general message.)
I wrote back and said, "Just a second, I'll find an elephant."
Poof, now that story has an elephant and a donkey. A silly example, but you get the picture.
Generally when we cover national pieces, particularly the elections, we gather our information from various news outlets in order to bring you the most balanced approach possible.
You've probably noticed we have quite a few Obama ads. We don't have Romney ads for one simple reason: they didn't buy the space. The Obama campaign did. Those ads are purchased on a national level and have no sway over what we report.
Our bloggers probably bring you more than enough opinion pieces on politics, but you may have noticed that we have a great assortment of political leanings. Brian Crawford and Curt Thompson, who people apparently love to argue with, are proud, intelligent liberals, while Dave Emanuel and Paul Dragu are sharp, enthusiastic conservatives.
Visit our Patch Election Guide as the elections progress for thoughts, opinions (which are labeled as such) and just plain unadulterated news.
Any questions? Ask them here or email me at Crystal.Huskey@patch.com.